The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love Book #1)

The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love Book #1)

by Judith Miller

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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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441264756
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Series: Refined by Love , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 348
Sales rank: 549,546
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Judith Miller is an award-winning writer whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. She is the author of the popular Daughters of Amana and Home to Amana series, which explore the closed communities of Iowa's Amana Colonies. Judy makes her home in Topeka,
. Learn more at
Judith Miller is an award-winning writer whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her family make their home in Kansas. Learn more at

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The Brickmaker's Bride 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet story of love and redemption. If you enjoy clean love stories, then this story is one that you will enjoy. ***esk 02/2017***
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction fans will want to dig into this new series! A very interesting setting, West Virginia at the beginning of the Reconstruction Era, and a combination of characters from different cultures and economic status, plus the bonus of the detailed brickmaking process, kept me reading on to the end. Good start to a new series by this seasoned Christian author. Recommend! 4.5 stars
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
This story is set in a reconstruction America, the Civil War has finally ended, and the country is trying to recover. Laura Woodfield’s father was a casualty of the war, and now her mother wants to sell their brickyard. We have Irish immigrants who become interested in purchasing this business, and a young man Ewan McKay who desperately wants the business to succeed; he wants to bring his sisters to America. The theme of the story is part romance, and part answering to God for sins. The money to purchase the plant is ill gotten, and Ewan’s Uncle is still following the wrong way of living. Things get so bad, that the new business appears to be going down the tubes. Will anything happen to help them save the company? I loved looking at this part of our countries history, and could just picture going from home to home, by foot and horse. There are some very interesting characters in this story, and felt another book could be written about Kathleen, Uncle Hugh’s sister-in-law, and sister to Margaret. The faith of most of these people touched me; they really lived their love of God. I enjoyed this story in many ways, and we need to remember our past, so it doesn’t repeat. I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable all the way through
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great storyline, very enjoyable read. I really limed the Hero, Ewan. Laura was likeable, but I found Ewan to be more likeable. Ewan sisters, just loveable...especially the twin girls. His Uncle and Aunt, another story. Laura's Mom was okay, I warmed up more towards the end. Kathleen, was okay. Overall, a good story. ***vrnb***
Anonymous 12 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typical harlequin type writing. A big disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait to read the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended This is a great love story and it has Christian values -- meaning it is clean uplifts God BUT without preaching to the reader for those who might otherwise skip getting this book. I can't add to what the other great review already have other to say I found it difficult to put the book down and when finished I was slightly disappointed when it did end because there were several loose ends but nothing to take away from what was written. Hopefully, those loose ends will be tied up in a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has a lot of human concern and complicated characters to keep your interest until the end .
wfnren More than 1 year ago
A great story that shows how faith can get you through anything. I have enjoyed Judith's books in the past and this can be added to my list of books that I really liked. Judith does a wonderful job of pulling you into the story, maybe wanting to slap someone really hard, many times even, oh yes, you have to read to see how cruel one person can be.
mackenzie_carol More than 1 year ago
The Brickmaker’s Bride by Judith Miller is the first book in her new Refined by Love series, but it is not the first novel by her I have ever read. However, I was disappointed to find I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as I had hoped I would. The plot was fairly slow—it took me a little while to get into the story—and I found many parts of it to be very repetitive. It also felt very predictable to me, and the many, many descriptions of the brickworks got old after a while. I did enjoy learning about how bricks are made, but eventually all the small details became a bit much. Fortunately I did enjoy the ending, but then, who doesn’t love a happily ever after? Although I know Laura Woodfield is supposed to be the heroine of the story, I found it difficult to like her. She seemed constantly sorry for herself, and I just couldn’t understand why she felt she must continue on with her relationship to the horrid Winston Hawkins. While her attitude towards her situation sometimes irked me, I did love her spirit. She was constantly standing up to Winston and speaking her mind, and that was something I admired in her. I also loved how she didn’t let society define her, but rather threw the confines of ‘proper etiquette’ aside when it got in the way of what she felt was right. And that brings us to her mother, Mrs. Woodfield. Although she was a sweet woman who obviously loved her daughter very much, she cared entirely too much about what others would think, what was right for people in their station, what was ‘proper’. For a Christian woman, I expected more of her, and was sadly disappointed when she constantly looked to society to judge what was acceptable. One thing I did like about that quality in her, however, was the fact that it did lend to the ‘no one’s perfect’ theme that Judith portrayed very well throughout this book. Now we get to Ewan McKay. I wanted to love him, I really did, but he just didn’t live up to the ‘hero of the story’ expectation I had in my head. He was a sweet man, though, and I loved the way he related to his sisters and how much he cared for them. His hardworking attitude was inspiring, and the way he kept his temper even when dealing with his gambler of an uncle was very admirable. However, I couldn’t stand how quickly he appeared to fall in love with Laura. It seemed as if, from the very first moment they met, he was on her side, and I just cannot bring myself to believe in love at first sight in such a way. To me, it almost felt as if—at first—he was choosing her just to spite his aunt and uncle, who couldn’t stand her. Eventually, his love for her became the sweetest part of the story, but I just didn’t like how quickly it started. All in all, I still give this story four bookshelves, as—despite its somewhat slow nature—I never once found myself just skimming the pages, and I did love the ending (did I mention that yet?). I also found the historical facts to be impeccable and interesting, and I did eventually grow to like most of the characters (Ewan’s aunt and uncle could never stop being insufferable, but I believe that was intended). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this novel, but I am still planning on reading the second book in this series—The Potter’s Lady—which is about Ewan’s older sister and releases on August fourth, so I wouldn’t say this book was anywhere near a total flop. (This review is from my blog,
CarolJo More than 1 year ago
The Brickmaker’s Bride by Judith Miller is an excellent story of post Civil War days in West Virginia.  Judith Miller shares how difficult it was to run a brickmaking operation when most of the men had been killed in the war or no longer able to do manual labor. You will feel Ewan McKay’s desperation to make the operation a success and to bring his younger sisters from Ireland. Judith Miller has done an great job of making you feel the  frustrations and pain as well as love and joy felt by the characters in this book. The story was easy to follow.   I was given this book by Bethany House and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sweatheart68 More than 1 year ago
I love all of Judith Miller's books. Each one comes dripping with historical detail and rich character storylines. 
TMS-Avid_Reader_Am_I_0828 More than 1 year ago
I positively enjoyed the book even though it plays on my emotions some and that includes some tear. I love the fact the author didn't make it feel like a TV sitcom, where every thing was all sunshine & rainbows; but it had a more realistic approach to it. I just think it is an easy read and a wonderful book!! It's storyline has a post - Civil War feel with some historical references in it. It has a wonderful appeal to me as the main male character, Ewan & family come from Ireland. I have a soft spot for anything set in Ireland. Judith brings a range of emotions as we encounter each character in the book. The pace was steady and in a way educational too. Judith took the time to do her research on brick making in order to make us, the readers; understand the process that it takes to make good bricks and the down fall of making poor quality product. We do see that we can pick our friends some times, but never our family as Ewan's aunt tends to be a harpy in the way she treats not Ewan, but her sister, her husband and even the Widow Woodfield. And then there is Hugh - the uncle who addicted to gambling and interested in finding a gaming table than actually doing what it takes to run the brick-making business. Even though he thinks like he knows all, a jack-of-all-trades so to speak. He occasionally shows guidance to Ewan at times when dealing with his aunt so you don't think he is a total jerk. Unlike the supposed fiancée of Laura, Winston Hawkings; is only thinking of his self through out the book and his aspiration to have a political career. You can't help to do more than only dislike him as this was the way of thinking back in a time women were to seen - not heard. To never voice an opinion outside that of their male counterparts. Woman of gentle breeding was expected to marry up, volunteer in the right charities and be a follower. Unless in some cases far and few part, a mere girl was "allowed" to learn the family business like Laura who is strong, caring and more than capable to know and understand the skills that would be helpful to Ewan though out the book. Good for her for have a spine against the likes of Winston!! As I stated that this book has the ability to have to you sorting you feelings after turning that the page. I look forward not only to the next book in this series (which is written by Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden) but also that of Judith Miller. Thank you Judith for bringing us such wonderfully book. I would & a have recommended to others, including to my local library. I give this book a very solid 4.75 stars out of the normal 5 stars. I received this book in trade for my honest opinion from Bethany House.
lsnlj More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Refined by love series. Although it does come to its own end, you can see where many more books could be written about the characters within this novel. Ewan McKay is a Scotts-Irish, who has come to America with his Aunt and Uncle in hopes of a better life and a way to be able to bring his three sisters over. He knows the brick making business, yet dealing with his unhappy and controlling aunt and his gambling uncle may be more than he can handle. When decisions are made that are out of his control will his dream of being a partner in the business be over, and will he ever get his sisters to America? Ewan was not prepared for the beautiful daughter of the previous owner, with all the help she has given him, can he keep his heart away, when she is being courted by another. Laura Woodfield loves the Brickyard and all the happy memories she has shared there with her father. She only wants to see it prosper under a new owner. What can she do to help make this transition go smoothly when the new owner and his wife have opinions of their own. Can she keep everyone happy? What about Ewan, He seems so genuine and she knows she has feelings for him, yet she is being courted by a man her mother says is a match for her, especially given her secret. You will find characters in this book you love and some you loathe, some you may come to like and some you never will. There is bitterness, selfishness, disappointment, love and Christian values throughout this novel. 
Lane_Hill_House More than 1 year ago
Friday, December 26, 2014 The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller, © 2014 "... I do wish the buyers weren't Irish, but we've had no other offers." --Winston Hawkins, The Brickmaker's Bride, 11 Now, Mr. Hawkins' speculation may make this reviewer a little doubtful of his expertise.... Hopefully, Miss Laura Woodfield will not hold this regard! Ewan McKay has traveled from Ireland with his uncle, Hugh Crothers, to America, hearing of opportunities for immigrants and the desire to do better for his sisters. Deceiving humans is not difficult, but deceiving God is impossible. Only He knows the true heart. --The Brickmaker's Bride, 194 So sad to see a dissatisfied wife and a man who pries on the weaknesses of others, turning his own to dust. Ewan's aunt and uncle are not pleased with any assessment he might give them; neither in business nor in social life. He makes it clear to his aunt that she is not to meddle in affairs of the heart as far as he is concerned. As his uncle prowls around during the day, Ewan is busy securing the brickmaking occupations from previous workers and those newly arriving. Laura has come to help him get assimilated to the daily operations from the records of her father and assisting with the timekeeping. Mrs. Woodfield has introduced Ewan to previous contractors, and it is up to him to show the work C&M Brickyard is capable of producing for them and their new building projects. Always feeling he has the upper hand, Hugh doesn't bother to thoroughly read the contracts he signs. First his wife feels she has been demeaned to live in a hovel instead of the main house, and he leaves the brickyard in the lurch compromising the assets. A delight in the story is the arrival of Ewan's sweet sisters; oldest, Rose, and twins, Adaira and Ainslee. They are full of life and a lovely addition to the gloom Ewan must wade through with the antics of his "benefactors." I am eager for him to get out from under their control and influence. My favorite of all is Laura. She is demure and reflects power under control. Through trial and adversity strength is revealed. Trusting God, Laura and Ewan find unwavering faith brings them clear direction. I liked reading of Laura's volunteer classes at the orphanage. In the community, their right standing reveals the character of others around them. Mrs. Woodfield's training example is well followed. Truth and integrity play a big part in developing relationships from generations before them. It is uplifting to see and experience a return on investments of heart measures from long ago. As those who had been helped before offer a hand, expressions of hope and continuance blossom. I have read several of Judith Miller's novels, especially the Postcard from Pullman series, I really enjoyed. I like the history and research bringing their day to the forefront. We truly can learn from those before us and carry it on into the future. ***Thank you to Bethany House Book Reviewers for sending me a copy of Judith Miller's novel, The Brickmaker's Bride. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Historical Fiction set in West Virginia an enjoyable read... The Brickmaker’s Bride   Refined by Love   By Judith Miller   The Woodfield Brickworks has been known for its quality and reliability.  But with the death of the owner Isaiah Woodfield in the War between the States the brickyard has been idle, awaiting a new owner. When Hugh Crothers and his nephew Ewan McKay show an interest in purchasing her father's brickyard Laura Woodfield insists on meeting them.  Ewan shows an understanding unlike his brusque and profit-seeking uncle. The sale of the brickyard sees Ewan seeking out Laura and her understanding of the workings of her father's brickyard.  Laura is more than happy to offer her assistance in offering information and guidance on potential workers, contract contacts, and bookkeeping records.  Where Hugh and especially his wife meet Laura's offered assistance with suspicion, Ewan accepts it with gratitude. But Hugh isn't the businessman he thinks himself to be and signs a contract that threatens to destroy the business that Ewan is struggling to build up.  And it could displace all the workers who have been employed at the brickyard.  Laura is determined to see Ewan and the brickyard succeed, but is there anything she can do to help? The Brickmaker's Bride is set in West Virginia shortly after the end of the Civil War.  The Tygart Valley River region has been devastated by the war and is in a state of rebuilding.  This is a world where a woman's place was to be found in the home as a wife and mother.  And immigrants are meet with suspicion.  This is an interesting and entertaining step back in time.  We often consider this to be a simpler time, but when we take a longer look this is not so.  This yet another delightful book from Judith Miller you'll want to take the time to enjoy. I was provided a copy of this book by Bethany House through their blogger program in exchange for my honest review.
Karen02KD More than 1 year ago
As a fan of Judith Miller, I was looking forward to reading this book. It did not disappoint. The story takes place in West Virginia after the Civil War. During the Civil War, West Virginia broke away from Virginia and formed their own state, staying with the Union. Laura Woodfield has been accustomed to a privileged lifestyle as her father was a prosperous businessman, operating a brick factory. Additionally, he allowed her a role in the factory as bookkeeper, one which few women were able to fill. Now, her father has been killed in the war, the factory sits idle, and the family solicitor is urging them to sell. Along come a pair of recent Irish immigrants, Hugh McKay, whose money seems to have come from his long hours at the gaming tables and his nephew, Ewan McKay, who has knowledge of brickmaking. They wish to purchase the brickyard. In doing so, Hugh’s wife hopes to demand her place in high society. Ewan finds that he depends more and more both on Laura's advice to run the business and to rescue his heart. What happens with the newly operating brickyard faces disaster??? This was a fascinating book. The author did quite a bit of research on brickmaking in the 19th Century to include in the book. I have read many books on the Reconstruction period, but never one to include the art of brickmaking. The setting of West Virginia is a new landscape for most historical fiction as well. This was not your typical post Civil War novel. In received this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.
SweetPea_3 More than 1 year ago
After Laura's father dies, she and her mother need to sell his business. Their lawyer, who also happens to be courting Laura, facilitates the sale of the brickworks to new immigrants from Ireland. Ewan McKay and his uncle have come to America for a better life for themselves and their relatives. At first only Ewan and his Uncle Hugh, and Hugh's wife and sister in law arrive but soon they bring over Ewan's three younger sisters and a slew of others to work in the brickworks and to start a new life away from the famine and fighting in their homeland. Laura and her mother very much want to see the brickwork business continue to succeed and help get Ewan and Hugh up and going with the business which does not go over well with Winston, the lawyer currently courting her. He has political aspirations and will do anything to attain them. Eventually, of course, the time comes when Laura has to choose between the man her mother has chosen for her and the man her heart wants. It's a lot more complicated than that, however, as she says of her and Winston: "the thing that draws us together would be the very thing that would end a courtship for most couples." Whatever that may be, will it stand in the way of love? This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading the back of this book alone made me want to pick it up. Everyone knows I’m a fan of historicals set around the Civil War period. This story opens shortly after the war, when folks were trying to start over, new states were forming, and progress was rapidly changing the face of the world around them. I liked Ewan and Laura’s characters and the dilemmas they each faced in their own unique walks of life. It was easy to like them and I was hoping for them to get together from the start. However, some of the other characters were so unlikeable that I had a hard time even reading some of the scenes that included them. I must admit I grew a little tired of their outright rude remarks and harsh attitudes. I kept waiting for those side characters to be redeemed and was left a little unsatisfied with them overall. The historical detail readers have come to expect from this beloved author is most certainly there, but I got a little lost in the facts from time to time. Read to learn and I think you’ll enjoy it. There is a lot of things I had never known about the brickmaking business before. It was an interesting perspective to spotlight. To me, the history came first and the love story, second. I’m not saying that’s all bad either. Just don’t expect the romance part to play the most prominent role. I enjoyed Ewan and Laura’s story, but I must say I wished to see more change and growth in their characters. Despite my couple disappointments with this novel, I have no doubt this series will be welcomed by historical fans everywhere. It offers a fresh world for readers to devour and the opportunity to see God work amazing things through difficult circumstances. This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher for my copy.
AMadisonMom More than 1 year ago
The Brickmaker’s Bride was a truly beautiful book. The story was so deep…. featuring so many different relationships. It really showed how a relationship you would have with one person could effect how you would relate to others. The book was just so full of characters and relationship dynamics. The relationship Laura had with her father growing up and helping at the brickyard office, and how it effected Laura through life. The relationship Laura and her mother had (both while her father was off to war, and also after he was killed), and how they both were trying to do what would bring the other happiness. The relationship Laura and Winston were trying to build (benefiting them each but not truly right). The relationship between Ewan and his sisters of love and support. The relationship Aunt Margaret seemed to foster with everyone around her, through threats, and guilt, and just plain meanness. The relationship… or non-relationship… each and every characters had with God. And of course, the relationship forged between Ewan and Laura… one of friendship and a growing attraction, respect, and love. I could keep listing relationships… but they all mainly went to show that how you treated others directly defined who you were as a person. I also loved the dedication that Laura and her mother gave to her father’s brickyard, his legacy to his family. Even though they had to sell… they still both wanted nothing more than to see the business continue to be a success and bring jobs and prosperity to all of the community. They were truly just good women. The overall moral of the story of paying forward kindnesses, or treating others as you would wish to be treated, was wound throughout the story. It really gave a great look at people behaving as good Christians, and also those not acting with the best values (some finding a better path… and some not quite making it there).