Friday, October 10, 2014

"The Brickmaker's Bride" by Judith Miller

The Brickmaker's BrideSince her father's death in the Civil War, Laura Woodfield's mother has been trying to sell her father's brickworks, and finally they have a buyer: an Irish immigrant, Hugh Crothers. Laura's desire to see the brickworks succeed leads her to spend significant time with the purchaser's kind and honest nephew, Ewen, much to the consternation of the wealthy lawyer courting her. Unfortunately, Uncle Hugh has little financial sense, and poor business decisions put the immigrants' livelihood in jeopardy. Can they save the brickworks, or will Ewan lose his chance to send for his sisters in Ireland, as well as his chance at love?

When reading historical fiction, I like to learn something new, and given that I knew little about West Virginia, this book proved an insightful glimpse into that under-appreciated part of our great and diverse country. I had no knowledge of brick making prior to reading this novel, but now I have a much greater appreciation for the makers of the bricks that form some of our country's oldest buildings - it's quite a process to make a product that stands beautiful and strong well over a hundred years later.

Laura and her mother truly model Christ's love - as frustrating as Margaret and Hugh Crothers are, they treat them charitably, above and beyond what they deserve. Even in the initial sale of the brickworks, they go far beyond their duty in ensuring that the new business prospers, and then they keep offering their support. Given how annoyed I was with the Crothers (and I am only a detached reader, not a neighbor who must deal with them on a regular basis), their kindness is astounding, and a great model.

The foolish financial decisions were quite a frustration to me; I realize people make poor decisions like that all the time (or there would be a lot less debt and foreclosure), but I cringed over and over at the Crothers' choices and how they treat their own kin. I read in horror of what they would do next . . . While this book will not make my top ten, I like the peek at history it provides. 4 stars

Thank you Bethany House for providing a free book for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own. 

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