Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
About the book: (From the publishers website)
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?
I was reading this book at the same time as learning all sorts of ways to build and write fiction, so I have to say I was reading it, while thinking about the mechanics of fiction, more than the story. However, despite that, Ms. Miller drew me into the book. I felt Ewan’s frustration of wanting his sister’s safe, but feeling like his only option was to continue to deal with is crooked uncle. I could also feel Laura’s frustration of being a spinster in the time when that was not okay, and bearing a secret that only one man knew and held over her head.
Ms. Miller really brings out some of the era’s frustrations and also at the same time introduces us to the mystery of brick making. The times were wrought with many things, but also, society played a huge role in dictating your value, just as it does today, but at the same time, as the characters needed to learn, they had to let it go as well.
While I discovered this book is written in an older fiction style of writing, so the scenes do not speed by as fast as in some books, this is a well written book, which will fascinate you.
This book was given to me for review by NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.