Showing posts with label Refined by Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Refined by Love. Show all posts

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Potter's Lady - Book 2 of Refined by Love Series Reviewed

The Potter's Lady Book Review on Review This!
Last week, I reviewed The Brickmaker's Bride from the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller.  If you haven't had a chance to read that review, I invite you to visit that review since that book is the foundation for the entire series.

The Potter's Lady picks up the story two years later from where The Brickmaker's Bride ended.  If you haven't read the first book in the series, this article will be a spoiler.  However, The Potter's Lady would be a delightful read regardless of whether you have read the first book.  It can easily stand on it's own merit.

This Christian historical fiction takes us back to the late 1800's where women were not encouraged to explore the working world.  Outside of being seamstresses or house help, there were very few acceptable jobs for women and none of them were considered proper for women in high society.

Reviews of the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller



Review of The Potter's Lady


Rose has just graduated from Philadelphia School of Design for Women and she is quite anxious to get back home to her family, her place of security and love.  Because she is an Irish immigrant, she was not well received by the other girls in the school.  They took every opportunity to make fun of her and to remind her that, regardless of her connections with the Woodfield family, she is still an outcast in high society. 

 The Potter's Lady (Refined by Love)As soon as she sees her brother, Ewan, she knows something is wrong.  She insists that he tell her what has upset him.  When he finally relents and shares the latest news from home, Rose is distressed to hear that Ewan has been forced out of the family brickyard business.  Since he was never made a partner as promised, when Uncle Hugh died, his wife, Margaret became the sole owner and she had her own plans for the business.  On the train ride home Ewan needs to stop to visit two other businesses that are for sale.  He hopes to start over and would like his sister's help in deciding which company would be the best investment.

They visit both a small brickyard and a pottery works company.  Even though all of Ewan's experience has been in a brickyard, the family decides to purchase the pottery company instead.  Since Rose is an artist and Ewan has management and contract negotiating experience, the family believes they would make a great team in a new business.  That decision is also based on not wanting to compete with Margaret's brickyard and potentially causing a greater divide in their extended family.

At her graduation party, Rose reconnects with Joshua Harkness.  His family also owns a pottery works in another city and she believes he might have some insight to help her succeed.  Joshua has other ideas of his own and starts courting Rose, but he also takes a mistress who happens to be Ewan's daughter's nanny.  

Rylan Campbell is a longtime employee of the pottery works that Ewan and Rose purchase.  He is key to helping them grasp the intricacies of the pottery works business.  Rose immediately sees several changes that need to be made to the daily business.  She desires a cleaner environment, as well as a school for the children working at the pottery works.  She gets a tremendous amount of resistance from the workers and even though Rylan doesn't like change, he strives to help Rose implement her ideas.   Rose and Ewan's twin sisters come to the factory to set up the school that will teach around the children's work schedules.

In spite of their hard work and factory changes, the pottery works can't seem to land any new contracts.  That is, of course, detrimental to the success and longevity of the company.  When Rose hears of a contest with a reward of a huge pottery contract, Rose and Rylan go to work on a new design that they hope will win.  However, just as before, Joshua Harkness has other ideas and plans.


My Recommendation 

As I said in the introduction, this book can easily stand on it's own merit.  Honestly, I enjoyed reading this book more than The Brickmaker's Bride, but I was glad I knew the family background, especially where Margaret was concerned.   It was also nice to already be familiar with the history of how Ewan and his family came to America and met the Woodfields.



Reviews of the Books in the Refined by Love Series

The Brickmaker's Bride Book Review

The Artisan's Wife Book Review 



Read More Book Reviews at
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The Potter's Lady Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Friday, June 2, 2017

The Brickmaker's Bride - Refined by Love Book Series Reviewed

The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller Reviewed
I just finished reading the Refined by Love book series written by Judith Miller and I ran over here as fast as I could to write my review.  I really enjoyed reading this series and was quite sorry when I realized I had read the last page in the final book.  The characters were so well developed over these 3 books that I really do feel like I know the family.  The author, Judith Miller, did an excellent job of resolving a lot of issues that a reader follows though the entire series.  

I had initially planned to review all 3 books in this one article.  However, once I started writing, I realized that would make this post too long.  Therefore, I will be reviewing The Potter's Wife (book 2) and The Artisan's Wife (book 3) in separate posts over the next 2 weeks.  

For this post, we shall focus only on The Brickmaker's Bride which is the first book in the series.

The Brickmakers Bride Book Review



The Brickmaker's Bride - #1 of the Series, Refined by Love


The title pretty much gives away the romantic side of the plot, but there is so much more to these books than just the romance.  Since they are historical fictions, the words paint a picture of what life for immigrants in in the late 1800's might have been like.  

The Brickmaker's Bride is unique because the immigrants were taken advantage of by Irish family members who brought them to America to work in Uncle Hugh's brickyard.  You would think that a family member would look out for their family, but Uncle Hugh prefers to profit off their labor and takes advantage of the needs of his own family.


The Plot

 The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love)When Hugh Crothers cheats his way to a small fortune in Ireland, he quickly loads his wife, her sister and his nephew, Ewan, on a boat bound for America.  The Irish immigrants have great plans and high hopes for their new home.  Because of their background working in brickyards, Hugh decides purchasing a brickyard would be their best investment.  Ewan agrees to help him establish the brickyard with the understanding that they will bring his sisters to America as soon as they have the funds and that Uncle Hugh will make him a partner once the brickyard is profitable.  

Hugh purchases Woodfield Brickworks from Mrs. Woodfield and her daughter Laura, who worked in the brickyard office for her father.  When Mr. Woodfield did not return from war, it was necessary for the women to sell the brickworks and few people had the capital to purchase the business.  Winston Hawkins, an attorney with political aspirations that happens to be courting Laura Woodfield, serves as the intermediary between the Woodfields, the bank, and Crothers.

From the very beginning, Uncle Hugh tries to take advantage of the women and Ewan finds himself caught in the middle.  Almost immediately there is a misunderstanding about the property included in the sale.  Uncle Hugh believes the widow's mansion is included, but the house that is included is a smaller home close to the brickyard.  It was properly spelled out in the contract, but Hugh still maintains he was cheated and should have been given the mansion for the price he paid.  Ewan maintains he should have read the contract, asked questions and even visited the house before signing any papers.  But Hugh had been in a hurry to get on with it.

It is Ewan's knowledge, honestly and integrity that would make the brickworks successful again with the help of the Woodfield women who are willing to introduce him to all the right people.  Neither Hawkins nor Crothers are happy about the alliance being formed between Ewan and the Woodfields. 

Once the brickyard is operational, more reliable workers are needed.  Because it is in his best interest, Uncle Hugh secures a loan from the bank and sends the money back to Ireland for 10 male family members and their families, plus Ewan's sisters to come to America.  Once they arrive, they are all put to work, yet they have a huge debt to payoff.  Uncle Hugh expects each one of them to pay him back for their passage, plus interest, as well as pay him for their housing.  His wife, Margaret, puts a few of the women to work as servants and maids in her new big house.

There is much stress and strife as Uncle Hugh and Margaret continue to scheme and take advantage of everyone.  There are several additional minor plots developing throughout this book since it is the foundation for the entire series.  While it may seem to drag a bit, it is necessary to properly prepare us for the following books.

Even though it is necessary to read this book to have the full background of the other two books, I have no desire to spoil this book for you.  Therefore, I will conclude this review now and let you read it for yourself.  While you won't be surprised by who gets married, you will be shocked by some of the other actions and decisions made throughout this book. 

Be sure and join me next week for the review of The Potter's Lady and the following week for The Artisan's Wife.

 
Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




The Brickmaker's Bride Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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