In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.
Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it’s Ewan’s job to get the company up and running again.
Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner’s daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she’s being courted by another man–a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he’ll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.
But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan’s hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?
Judith Miller is celebrating the release of The Brickmaker’s Bride with a special giveaway and webcast. Read on for more information.
Class and culture clashes in Judith Miller’s new Refined by Love series. Readers are taken to the newly created state of West Virginia, where opportunity abounds for those not afraid of hard work.
Laura’s father died during the recent war but, while he lived, he built up a successful brick making company with customers as far away as Pittsburgh. Ewan isn’t afraid of hard work. His uncle, however, is a tight-fisted individual with no sense of business who would rather make his fortune fleecing opponents at the gambling table. Aunt Margaret might not know where the money comes from, but she’ll use it to raise her social status in the area, especially if it comes at the expense of Laura’s family who she believes defrauded her. Ewan understands he has plenty to learn if he’s to be accepted in society. His aunt has no such understanding. She’ll break all the unwritten rules in the book as she pushes her way into being accepted. But their problems aren’t entirely of their own making. As much as Laura and her mother want to help Ewan in his transition, others such as Laura’s would be suitor, Winston, let their anti-Irish sentiments govern their treatment of the newcomers.
The Brickmaker’s Bride is a good look at a post-Civil War America. Immigration is increasing, and the immigrants have as much opportunity to become as rich as established families. Miller includes prominent Pittsburgh names, such as Thomas Mellon, as examples of Scots-Irish immigrants who were successful. There were jobs available for them, not only due to the huge loss of life during the war but also due to the growth of industrialization. They were not universally accepted, however, as Miller implies at various points. There was plenty of stereotyping and discrimination to go around. In reading this novel, I also learned far more about brick making than I thought possible due to the detail written about the industry.
As implied by the title, this book does have a romantic happily ever after. I did feel, however, that some plot threads were left incomplete. The resolution regarding the brickworks, for example, seemed temporary at best. It’s something that might not be of concern to readers purely looking for a romantic read, but I tend to take an interest in other aspects of these books. Despite that, I did enjoy this novel and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse for my complimentary copy of Sadie’s Secret, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.
Have you read The Brickmaker’s Bride? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 07 October 2014
Page Count: 352