Ainslee McKay's world is upended when her twin sister secretly elopes and leaves Ainslee alone to move to Weston, West Virginia, to fulfill their obligation at the McKay family's new tile works. While her brother, Ewan, agrees to travel with her and help her learn the ropes, she still intends to sell this business she no longer wants if a buyer can be found.
When the talented Levi Judson arrives to show Ainslee his designs for new tiles, she's impressed at his skill and passion for the business but feels she must keep her true plans for the business a secret from him. And though Levi hopes for a long, successful career at McKay Tile Works, he's hiding his true reason for coming to Weston. Can the growing feelings between them survive if the truth comes to light--or is a future together as untenable as the future of the tile works itself?
(Excerpt from back of book)
Almost two years ago I had the chance to dive into Judith Miller's Refined by Love trilogy. now with The Artisan's Wife the journey has come full circle and the wonderful twins are finally getting center stage!
First things first. I skipped book two The Potter's Lady. I'm not exactly sure how that happened but with Miller's attention to plot continuation readers will find far more enjoyment if they take the time to read the series in order. Not that this is a hardship. Miller's writing style and quality of detail is just as strong in the final pages of this trilogy as it was in the first.
I loved getting swept away in her nods to the era. Unlike many authors these days, Miller also takes the time to briefly explain to authors which key elements were nods to real life, which were fictional, and where the lines were drawn.
As far as characters go Ainslee was one of my few complaints about The Brickmaker's Bride due to her under use. I was thoroughly pleased to see her finally take center stage and the depth of her character was wonderful in all its smart, stubborn, and wrestling spirit. Levi was also fairly well rounded although I've always felt Miller's female characters have a more natural feel and flow to them.
Given the fact that this was our third outing with the McKay family I was curious how Miller was going to bring a new spin on this novel while still wrapping up the loose threads from Brickmaker's Bride. I absolutely loved Miller's look at the asylum's of the era. Her explorations of prejudice through Laura (a character already familiar), the reasons behind committals, the hints towards future issues was a wonderful serious direction to balance out a very sweet romance/coming of age for Ainslee.
This was a wonderful way to wrap up 2 years with the McKay's and a solid read for fans of the genre.
4 out of 5 stars.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."