Engaging History and Romance from Bestselling Author Judith Miller
When Rose McKay convinces her brother, Ewan, to invest in a pottery business, she's determined to assist him in making the venture a success. Having just graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, she believes she can design pieces that will sell well. In her efforts to help the pottery flourish, Rose reconnects with Joshua Harkness, who oversees his own family's pottery works in a nearby town.
Rylan Campbell has never liked change, but the new owners of the pottery seem to be the decent sort. He just wishes Rose wouldn't insist on cleaning and moving everything. But when McKay Pottery starts losing business to the Harkness company, Rylan realizes Joshua might be taking advantage of Rose.
Then Franklin Hotels announces a design contest. Winning the Franklin contract would be exactly the boost McKay Pottery needs, so Rose and Rylan work closely together to create something magnificent. With Joshua's company as their main competition, can Rylan convince Rose her trust in Joshua may be misplaced?
About the Author
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 Topeka, Kansas. Learn more at www.judithmccoymiller.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Potter's Lady
By Judith Miller
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2015 Judith Miller
All rights reserved.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1872
Rose McKay stared out the narrow window of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Her gaze darted between passing buggies and wagons before perusing the pedestrians traversing Broad Street. Where was Ewan? Her brother said he'd be here by two o'clock. If he didn't hurry, they'd miss their train.
"Why don't you sit down, Rose? Staring out the window isn't going to make your brother appear any sooner." Mrs. Fisk, director of the school, nodded toward one of the perfectly arranged chairs in the sitting room.
Inimitable paintings and sculptures, all of them fashioned by students who had attended the school, adorned the entry hall and sitting room where visitors were received. To have a creation displayed in either place was considered the most prestigious award any student could achieve. Each year, one student received the Excellence in Design Award. Along with the plaque came the honor of having one piece of work on display. Rose's heart warmed at the thought of her own work joining those of the previous students. This year, she had been the award recipient. Though Rose had been honored by the announcement, her fellow students had resented the choice and had been quick to make their feelings known to her.
Rose had never been truly accepted into their ranks. She was, after all, an Irish immigrant who never would have gained entry into the prestigious school had it not been for the influence and money of Frances Woodfield, Ewan McKay's mother-in-law. Still, the harsh comments of the other students when she'd received the commendation, as well as during the remainder of the year, had been painful.
"I do wish the upholstery had been completed prior to your departure, Rose. You must return so that you can see the divan when it is completed." Mrs. Fisk motioned to the west side of the room. "We'll place it over there in front of the fireplace, where it can be seen to full advantage."
The hours Rose had devoted to designing the divan's upholstery had been innumerable, and seeing the completed project would have given her great joy. Yet not enough to remain any longer than required. Although she'd done her best to remain cheerful and kind during her two years at the school, she no longer wished to endure the pranks and unkind remarks of the young women here who considered themselves to be above her. Returning home would relieve her of future ridicule.
She rubbed her arms and shuddered as she recalled the spring dance. Rose had never had an escort for any of the parties or dances at the school, a matter Melissa Bonsart insisted upon resolving by arranging an escort for Rose. When Rose didn't immediately accept the secondhand invitation, Melissa had resorted to an angry diatribe, stating the young man, Matthew Skilling, was from a fine Philadelphia family. When Rose could listen to no more, she'd relented and fallen headfirst into Melissa's trap. A trap that had served to undermine any remaining trust she'd had in these false friends.
Raucous laughter and unkind remarks had followed the arrival of an Irish lad dressed in tattered clothing. When Rose discovered the girls had convinced the young Irishman he would be welcomed at their party, Rose's anger swelled. There had been no "Matthew Skilling." Not only had they embarrassed her, they'd also humiliated the young man who, like Rose, had done nothing to deserve their callous treatment.
Truth be told, the conniving behavior of those girls reminded Rose of her Aunt Margaret. Their meanspirited actions had awakened Rose to a sad understanding: There were far too many scheming people willing to abuse others for their own pleasure, power, or greed.
"Did you hear me, Rose?" Mrs. Fisk nodded toward the fireplace.
"Yes. I think you've chosen a perfect space. If I ever return to Philadelphia, I'll be sure to stop here first." Rose, however, secretly doubted she'd ever return to Philadelphia. Though she'd received an excellent education at the design school, the young women she'd encountered during the past two years had imbued Rose with a distinct distaste for Philadelphia and its social mores.
"I'm saddened to see my very best student returning to the hills of West Virginia, where I doubt you'll ever use your education. I want you to write to me if you're unable to find employment that satisfies your creativity."
Rose strained forward for a glimpse outside. "Thank you, Mrs. Fisk. I'll keep your offer in mind, but ... Ewan's arrived!" She jumped up from her chair and rushed toward the front door. Before he had an opportunity to knock, Rose yanked open the door. "I thought you would never get here. What kept you? We'll have to hurry, or we'll miss our train."
Ewan arched his brows and chuckled. "Good afternoon to you, too, Rose." The scent of blooming lilacs wafted through the open door. Had it not been for the long, cold winter, the two flowering bushes outside the front entrance would have bloomed six weeks ago.
Rose grinned and took a backward step to allow her brother entry. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to assail you the moment you arrived, but I've been worried, and I missed you so." She turned to look at the grandfather clock that stood sentry in the hallway. "We could miss the train if we don't hurry."
"We have plenty of time, Rose." Ewan stepped inside and wrapped her in a warm embrace. "I didn't realize you were so eager to leave."
"Mr. McKay. It's good to see you. Your sister has been quite worried about you." Mrs. Fisk stepped closer. "I've tried my best to convince Rose she should remain in Philadelphia, but she seems to think a return to West Virginia is best." A frown creased the older woman's forehead. "I truly do not believe she'll be able to find employment that will lend her an opportunity to use the skills she's acquired." She shook her head and tsked. "Such a shame to have talent waste away, don't you agree, Mr. McKay?"
"Aye, 'tis not good to squander a God-given talent, but I think Rose will discover a way to use her abilities." His lips tilted in a grin. "Civilization does not begin and end in Philadelphia, Mrs. Fisk."
"Of course not. I didn't mean to imply ..."
Ewan held up his hand. "No offense taken, Mrs. Fisk. Just like the rest of the family, I know Rose intends to find a way to use her talents. Should she have any trouble, I'm sure she'll set pen to paper and let you know."
Rose tugged on Ewan's arm. "We shouldn't keep the carriage waiting, Ewan. I had my baggage delivered to the train station, but we'll need to make certain it arrived safely and purchase our tickets."
Ewan patted the pocket of his jacket. "I've already purchased the tickets." He glanced toward the stairs. "Do you have no friends you wish to offer a final good-bye?"
Rose shook her head. "No. I'm ready to be on my way."
Gray skies loomed overhead as Rose looped arms with her brother and descended the front steps of the three-storied brick building. She was thankful for the education she'd received inside the large second-floor classrooms but glad she would no longer inhabit one of the third-floor sleeping rooms.
Rose lifted her gaze to the third floor. Several of her former classmates stood at one of the bedroom windows. They were laughing and pointing toward the carriage. She hoped their laughter wasn't a signal they'd played some final trick she hadn't yet discovered.
As her brother assisted her into the carriage, Rose glanced over her shoulder. "How are Laura and the girls? I'm eager to see all of them." Rose had been determined to pursue further education, but being away from her younger twin sisters, Ainslee and Adaira, had proven more difficult than she'd anticipated. And she'd sorely missed Tessa, Ewan and Laura's young daughter. She was eager to reunite with all of them.
"They are doing quite well and are every bit as impatient to see you." Her brother maintained a close gaze on her as they rode to the train station. His brow creased with concern as he reached for her hand. "You don't seem yourself, Rose. You've said no more than a few words since we left the school. Is there something bothering you that you have not told me about?"
"Nay. I'm pleased to be going home, but I am a little worried about locating employment." She tipped her head to the side and peeked from beneath her bonnet. "And before you tell me to leave my cares at the Lord's footstool, I've already tried. I'm not as successful as you when it comes to turning loose of my worries."
"I'll not be finding fault with you, for I've had a wee bit of trouble putting my own advice into practice these past weeks."
Rose turned to face her brother. "What kind of trouble?
Nothing with Laura or the girls, is it?"
"Nay. As I said, they're all fine. I'll tell you later. We'll have more than enough time to talk on the train." He glanced out the carriage window. "I was hoping to have a bit of time to visit Fairmount Park before we boarded the train. Mrs. Woodfield said it would be quite lovely this time of year. Have you been there?"
"Aye. She's right. The park is beautiful. I visited last spring but haven't been there since then."
Her thoughts rushed back to the visit that had proved to be an opportunity for her classmates to inflict another of their many pranks. They had completed their tour of the zoological gardens, and Mrs. Fisk agreed they could go to the small bridge that crossed the brook and then meet her at the pavilion for lunch. Rose still didn't know who had pushed her into the brook, but the visit had been cut short because of the incident. Mrs. Fisk had been unhappy. After all, she'd reminded them they shouldn't go near the water. Rose didn't reveal she'd been pushed. She knew it would only cause retribution.
"Then I'm doubly sorry we do not have time. I'm sure you would have enjoyed another visit."
Rose shook her head. "I've had my fill of city life, Ewan. I'm eager to return to Bartlett."
* * *
They had been on the train for more than an hour, yet Ewan hadn't decided how to tell Rose about the troubles at home. This should be a happy time for her. She'd finished school and was returning to her family. At least that's what she believed. Before they stopped in Grafton to tour at least two businesses, he'd be forced to tell her the truth.
When she glanced at him, he offered her a weak smile. It was the most he could muster right now.
"Tell me what has happened at home these past weeks, Ewan."
He massaged his forehead and pretended to concentrate. "Let me think. What has been happening?" He inhaled a deep breath. "Laura, her mother, and the twins have been busy planning a party to celebrate all your accomplishments. From what I've been told, it is going to be the best party of the season, maybe the entire year. The invitations have gone out, and the response has been superb. Those are Laura's words, not mine." He forced a smile. "Laura and her mother have been busy planning the decorations and creating menus."
Rose sighed. "You know it isn't the party I'm asking about. I'm not a child. There's something more that's causing the worry I see in your eyes."
Ewan leaned against the hard wooden seat, wishing he'd paid the extra price to ride in one of the expensive coaches with padded seating. When they arrived at their next stop, he'd see if tickets were available for one of those more comfortable coaches. Perhaps he shouldn't spend the money right now, but if he was going to be alert when they arrived in Grafton, he'd need some rest.
After inhaling a deep breath, Ewan grasped his sister's hand. "Aunt Margaret has become more difficult to deal with now that Uncle Hugh has died." Ewan rubbed his jaw. "She has forced me out of the brickyard."
Rose's mouth dropped open. "What? How? You're a partner."
Ewan shook his head. "I'm not a partner. Uncle Hugh promised to draw up the agreement after Laura and I married, but since his mind was gone after he suffered the high fever and apoplexy, the papers were never signed."
The hard wood seemed to poke Ewan's bones, and he shifted sideways as the train chugged onward. Rose's eyes shone with fear, or was it anger? Back when Hugh's illness had rendered him helpless as a bairn, Ewan decided the girls should not be drawn into the problems regarding the brickyard. Laura and her mother had agreed. But now, with Aunt Margaret's recent decision looming over him, he had no choice.
"Why didn't I know all of this before now?" Rose's lips tightened into a hard line.
Ewan offered a brief account of how he'd come to his decision, but her shoulders stiffened when he said he hadn't wanted to burden her or the twins.
When Rose didn't respond, he sighed. "Can't ya see, Rose? 'Twould have served no purpose."
"I'm not a child. You lump me together with the twins and act as though I'm too young to understand anything."
"That's not true, Rose. You were busy with schoolwork, and we didn't want to distract you." He hesitated a moment. "I think that's the word Laura used." He nodded. "Aye. We should not distract you from your studies." Deciding it might be best to take the offensive, he folded his arms across his chest. "Had you known about this, what would you have done?"
She was silent for a moment. "I would have come home."
"That is exactly what we thought you would do. We agreed you were too close to finishing at the design school, and we did not want you to quit."
Rose appeared sullen for several minutes, and Ewan decided it was best to let her absorb the news. If he'd only been more observant, Margaret's motives would have been clear months ago. Why had he been so unmindful when, on her own, she'd hired Andrew Culligan? Never before had she hired any worker for the brickyard. She said he'd been hired because of his knowledge and as a favor to a friend, but what friend? Margaret's friends were far and few between, and Ewan had never before heard any mention of a Culligan family. But he'd simply accepted her word and put the man to work operating the pug mill, the horse-drawn machine where they tempered the clay.
Before long, Margaret had reassigned Culligan to work the VerValen machinery. She'd insisted he was far too experienced to be working the pug mill. And she'd been correct. The man knew as much about brickmaking as Ewan, although the two men disagreed about quality. Ewan insisted upon proper mixing, drying, and firing to ensure the finest bricks Crothers & McKay could produce, while Mr. Culligan was prone to taking shortcuts to increase profits. The idea of those extra earnings pleased Aunt Margaret more than the production of first-rate bricks.
When Aunt Margaret had brought Mr. Culligan to the office a few weeks ago and instructed Ewan to explain all of the contracts, bookkeeping, and time records, he'd advised against the idea. "You don't know this man well at all. You shouldn't give him access to all of our financial records, Aunt Margaret. It isn't wise."
She had vehemently argued that someone else should understand the business aspects of the C&M Brickyard. After all, what if Ewan should suffer the same fate as Hugh? What would she do then? There would be no one to help her through the muddle. Ewan had considered telling her that Laura could help.
They had purchased the brickyard from Laura's mother, and it had been Laura who had taught Ewan how to keep the books and read contracts. And it had been Laura and Mrs. Woodfield who had introduced Ewan to the men who eventually placed large orders for C&M bricks. However, any mention of Laura's name to his aunt would only create further hostility.
Since Uncle Hugh's illness, Laura had refrained from visiting the brickyard. Aunt Margaret continued to regard Laura as an interloper who'd married Ewan with the idea of one day having the brickyard returned to the Woodfield name. Of course, this assumption was without merit, yet convincing Aunt Margaret had proved impossible.
"I suppose you were right not to tell me right away. There's nothing I could have done, but I wish there was some way I could help." Rose offered him a meager smile, but the usual shimmer had disappeared from her blue eyes.
He reached for her hand and gave it a slight squeeze. "Before this journey ends, you may be able to help me a great deal. Laura's mother is going to loan me money to purchase a new business, so there are some serious decisions to be made. But right now, we must disembark and catch our train to Grafton to tour one of them."
Excerpted from The Potter's Lady by Judith Miller. Copyright © 2015 Judith Miller. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Potter’s Lady is the second book in the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller. It takes place in rural Virginia in the late 1800s and continues the story of the McKay family. As the book begins, Rose McKay has just graduated from design school, and convinces her family to invest in a pottery. No one in the family has ever owned a pottery before, but Rose is convinced her design experience will help to make the business a success. Meanwhile, Rylan Campbell has only ever known the pottery. He began working there at only 13, and the owner is the father he never had. When the pottery is sold to the McKays, everything starts to change-and Rylan isn’t sure it’s for the better. Regardless, he is determined to help the McKays make the pottery a success. When the pottery mysteriously begins to lose contracts, and is unable to gain new ones, Rylan and Rose set out to win a design contest that will solve the company’s money woes. Will they be able to save the business, and is someone trying to sabotage all their hard work? My Thoughts: I liked this book. It is well-written, has an interesting story line, and well-developed characters. I did not read the first book, and although it would have been nice for more background, it wasn’t necessary for this story. If you enjoy historical fiction with a little romance, this is a fun, easy read. The only thing I would have wished for would have been some type of epilogue. I spent so much time waiting for the good guys to figure out the bad guys, it would have been nice to hear what happened “after the story” as it were. Otherwise, this was a good book, and I recommend it! As always, thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a free copy of this book for my unbiased review.
Judith Miller’s ‘The Potter’s Lady’ has solidified this author as a new “favorite” for Christian historical and women’s fiction. The package is wrapped in a beautifully-designed cover and the inside is substance surpassing expectations. It is a sweeping story of a Christian woman making a life as an artisan and businesswoman within the spectacular beauty of 1870’s West Virginia. Rose and her brother Ewan McKay, against his better judgement, invested moneys from his wife’s family into buying a pottery. Ewan was expert in brickworks, having worked in their family’s company for years, but a brickmaking company would cause a rift within their family. Mrs. Woodfield, Ewan’s mother-in-law, had confidence that Rose’s design talent and skills learned at a women’s design school would bring success to the family. She accompanied Rose to a pottery overseen by the son of an old family friend, Joshua, and they come back with many ideas. Joshua began to call on Rose, but she was up front about not having time to put into a relationship. Rylan Campbell, a strong Christian, had worked for the pottery the McKay’s purchased since he was 12. He was a treasury of information, but didn’t like change. He was thankful to still be employed, but found it challenging for a woman to make changes to the working conditions and product line. Something was wrong at the McKay’s pottery. Rylan and Ewan worked hard writing the very best bids for companies that the pottery had served for years. They were underbid by the pottery Joshua managed. As they sought the Lord for a way to keep their employees working and the pottery open, Rose’s design school contacted her with information on a contest that, if they won, could put them back into position to succeed. The contest winner would have the contract to replace all dishware for all hotels in a huge chain. Rose worked single-mindedly towards it while in the background, evil lurked that could cost them everything. The plot had depth and kept me on my toes. I was very much into the story – the relationships, mystery, and changes that each character went through as it progressed. There were plot twists that stunned me, while others were a joy. There was rich detail, action, and conversation for this reader to feel part of the novel. It is the kind of story that one could be immersed in so completely that one could forget what century and state he or she is in! Overall, it was finely executed without loose ends, with an ending so satisfying that I would gladly read more of this author’s writings. The faith exercised by the characters endured trials and strengthening, and spiritual lessons were wonderful examples. The primary characters demonstrate faith that endures through trials. I liked Rose best; her traits of a strong work ethic and sense of family were exemplary, as were Ewan’s and Rylan’s. Laura and her mother are beautiful examples of Christian women who encouraged and stood behind their loved ones. I highly recommend ‘The Potter’s Lady’ to those who appreciate finely-written Christian women’s historical novels, as well as those who enjoyed the first book in this ‘Refined by Love’ series, ‘The Brickmaker’s Bride’ or any of Judith Miller’s other writings. With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads contest. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
The Potter’s Lady is the second book in the Refined by Love series. I have read Brickmaker’s Bride, which is the first book in the series and really enjoyed both. You don’t have to read the first book in order to understand this one. The Potter’s Lady follows Rose McKay. Learning at school has been fun, but Rose is ready to come home. She has missed her brother Ewan, his wife Laura, and her sisters and can’t wait to get home. She can tell that something is bothering her brother, but doesn’t get the details right away. When he tells her they are going to be buying a new business she is excited. Rose hopes that she can talk him into buying a pottery instead of a brick yard, which is what he is used to. After visiting the pottery, Rose knows she can make beautiful and unique vases and help her brother make a profit. When Rose meets Rylan, she finds out that everyone is not open to change. The men in the pottery don’t like when someone new comes in and changes things, even if they are for the better. Rose can only hope that one day, they will realize everything she is doing is for their good. When their pottery keeps being outbid on contracts, Rose feels like she might have bitten off more that she can chew. When a huge hotel chain announces a contest, Rose and Rylan see it as a chance to save the pottery. Can they work together to create a winning entry? Will they be able to put aside their differences for the greater good? Will they accept the greater plan God has for their lives? The Potter’s Lady is full of twists and turns. At times I was nervous wondering what was going to happen next. Miller kept my interest through out the whole story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance with a little back stabbing and mystery thrown in. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is a well- written book about an Irish family who purchases a pottery once the sister, Rose McKay finishes design school. Rose's love interest in the book is none other then the apprentice, Rylan Campbell. Rylan is fearing for his job knowing the purchase of the pottery is coming due to a sick business owner who can no longer run the pottery. Rose is focused on design and quality over quantity and proceeds. The story mainly focuses on the pottery, defining terms and explaining the processes of how pottery is made. The pros were Judith Miller is a skilled writer, historical fiction, Irish heritage and the dynamics between Rose and Rylan. Cons were the books being boggled done by much of the pottery processes and not enough of a romantic story between the two. I was hoping for more dialogue and interactions between Rose and Rylan. I did enjoy the ones that Miller wrote. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed the story. I think Judith Miller is a skilled writer and she develops her characters well. I have read other works by Ms. Miller and have like them as well. Pros about this particular book: It’s historical, which I usually enjoy. I like learning about the craft of pottery and the business of pottery making in the late 1800’s. It was an easy to read book and easy to follow. Cons about this particular book: In my humble opinion the story was too weighted toward the history of pottery and not enough romance or story line involving the characters. I felt it was basically a “man and woman meet, don’t particularly like each other at first but once they spend time together they fall in love.” There wasn’t enough conflict or emotional tension for my liking. I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars. Bethany House publishers gave me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
This book pleasantly surprised me. At first, I was a bit hesitant to pick it up after reading the first one in the Refined By Love series. It had been well-written and well-researched, but I’d missed the romantic pull somehow. This second installment, however, created that for me. The Potter’s Lady continues the story of the McKay family and focuses on Rose, in particular, and her creative aspirations in the 1800s of West Virginia. While the historical detail is certainly there, I was captured the most by the characters and the challenges they faced. There is a sense of intrigue throughout the story as the plot thickens and problems arise. Rose finds herself torn between her attraction to Rylan and Joshua. She’s overwhelmed with the expectations to make the pottery a success. Her insecurities plague her and past wounds threaten her resolve. She’s a very relatable and likable character. Of course, I liked the hero too, but you’ll have to read it to find out which of the men she chooses. ;) The pace was a bit slow for me, but there were some nice surprises thrown in to keep the story from feeling too predictable. I enjoyed watching the characters work through their differences to create a special design for the pottery contest. That was a unique and fun part of the story. On the flip side, there were a few very unlikable characters as well. Their side stories were left a little unresolved, so I assume we will see more of them in the future. ;) The book is in many ways a coming-of-age story for the heroine. The romance plays a subtle, but sweet role to the greater story of trust, hard work, and family. Historical fans will not be disappointed. This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher for my copy.
Rose has finished her schooling at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Now she wants to put her skills to the test working for her brother at his pottery business. Rylan was the right hand man for the previous owner. But the new owners are making changes and Rylan has never been a fan of change. But as he works closely with Rose and her brother, Ewan, he realizes they might be trusting the wrong person. Can a contest be the clue to saving their business or will it ruin everything they've worked so hard to accomplish? The author is really good at creating mental pictures. I was able to "see" the story with all of the descriptions. There was quite a bit of explanation about the pottery and how it was run. While this was interesting to me, it did seem to detract from the main plot of the story. The plot moved very slowly for me and it took me over half of the book before it picked up. I enjoyed the intrigue surrounding the competition and the contest. This is book two in the series and while I think the book would work okay as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading book one first. Overall, it was a nice, descriptive story with a good message that had a slow start and weak romance. I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
____________________ *My Thoughts* I was so excited to read this story! It was perfect timing to receive it right after purchasing and reading The Brickmakers Bride, the first in the series. I was not disappointed! I fell in love with Rose in the first book already and knew Judith had to write about her next!! She was such a strong, sweet person always caring for others. It just made sense that she'd get her own story. Her heart and excitement for pottery and such was evident from the beginning and it was so cool to learn about the trade! Rylan too, was special from the beginning. You could see his drive to do something with his life. I loved that while he was attracted to a girl, you could tell he loved her for who she was not what she looked like. He was always striving to help and to protect the people he respected or cared about. If I had to describe the flow of the story in detail, I think "water under a bridge" would describe it perfectly. It was smooth from beginning to end, not jumpy, and all the relationships were totally believable! The whole story served to completely endear me to Judith. The story line was not anything spectacularly different but I still learned things that I never knew before but there was something special about the book as a whole. From return characters to new faces to an underlying suspense to keep you on edge, Judith is on "auto-buy" from now on! ___________________ *Audience* I have an addiction to reading but my true weakness is historical fiction! If it's yours too, you'll love it as well as fans of Julie Lessman, Laura Frantz, Sarah Sundin, Lorna Seilstad, and Melissa Jagears! ________________________ *My overall thoughts* The Potters Lady by Judith Miller is an awesome historical novel based on a family trying to make their living in pottery. The story and romance flows smoothly from beginning to end with endearing characters and a suspenseful storyline. _______________ *My Rating* I give The Potters Lady by Judith Miller... 5 stars!! *I received this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way. http://bookreviewsforchristians.blogspot.com/2015/09/bethany-house-review-potters-lady-by.html
‘The Potter’s Lady’ is Book Two in the Refined by Love series. Even though I did not read the first book, ‘The Brickmaker’s Bride’, I felt the author provided enough background in this installment to bring me up to date on the characters and the setting. The main characters in this book, Rose McKay, Rylan Campbell, Ewan McKay, Joshua Harkness, and Beatrice (a distant relative of Ewan and Rose’s and nanny to Ewan’s daughter, Tessa) are well-developed and believable. The story is set in 1872 in Philadelphia and West Virginia. Rose is a talented designer of pottery who has just graduated from a design school in Philadelphia. She won the Excellence in Design Award at the school, but is eager to return home to escape the bullying she encountered from her classmates while living at the school. Rose longs to begin her new life as a designer of fine pottery pieces and to be back home with her family. Rose and her brother, Ewan, eventually purchase Bancock Pottery Works in Grafton, West Virginia. Ewan originally wishes to purchase a brickyard since that is where his experience and expertise lie. However, Rose and her sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s mother nudge Ewan in the direction of purchasing the pottery so Rose’s designs can bring the pottery back to life and ensure a successful livelihood for the family. The information included in the story about the pottery and brickyard industries in this time period was interesting and enriched the content of this story for me. Three of the characters turn out to be manipulative, conniving, and greedy. I won’t spoil it for you by revealing who they are and what they did, but this trio wreaks havoc for the McKay family throughout the story. The plot thickens when the McKay Pottery fails to win numerous bids for new jobs from regular customers of Bancock Pottery Works. Ewan, Rose, and Rylan are stumped about why they are losing so many bids when they are meticulous about calculating costs and allowing for very little profit when presenting the new bids to prospective customers. The pinnacle of the story comes when Franklin Hotels announces a design contest. The story picks up pace in the last several chapters of the book. The romance between Rose and Rylan is sweet and realistic. They treat each other with respect and kindness. After a rough start, they develop a strong friendship based on their love of pottery design and a shared interest in making the McKay Pottery Works (previously Bancock Pottery Works) successful once again. I highly recommend this story to fans of historical romance, Christian romance, clean fiction, and historical fiction. NOTE FROM BLOGGER: I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are solely my own. I was not compensated for posting this review here or on any other sites. #############
Rosemaire McKay, newly graduate of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, convinces her brother, Ewan, to buy a pottery. She is convinced that she can bring in the contracts for her brother. She also reconnects with Joshua Harkness, who owns a rival pottery business but vows to help her. Rylan Campbell has never liked change. So when Ewan McKay buys the pottery he works at, he braces himself for all sort of change. But it isn't Ewan who brings the change, it is pretty Rose McKay. When they begin to lose business, Rylan suspects Joshua to be taking advantage of Rose. When a contest design is announced, can Rose and Rylan put aside differences and join forces to save the pottery both love? ♥ ♥ ♥ This book was very sweet and well written. Rylan's character jumped out at me, because like him, I hate change. The way he handles Rose and the changes she brings shows that God can bring good things from the bad. The deceit of Joshua hit a little to close to home as well. My family and I have gone through our share of betrayal and it was comforting to know it happens to everyone. I loved that the main characters were Irish. It added a flavor to the book that made it even more enjoyable. I learned a lot about pottery as well, which I thought was cool. When I was younger, I wanted to make pottery and it was interesting to see the advanced process that it took to make them in the late 18th century. This book was given to me for my honest review which I have give. All opinions expressed are my own.
Judith Miller again has weaved a wonderful tale of romance and suspense. I have always loved pottery and this story grabbed my heart. Set in historic West Virginia in the 1870's, the tale evokes the time and difficulty of business, especially for a woman. This book was a quick read and captivated me. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Judith Miller's writing. I have not read any other in this series, Refined By Love. Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing, provided this book for my honest review, with out any compensation.
"The Potter's Lady" is the second book in the series Refined by Love by Judith Miller. Before I read the book I did read the first one in this series. Although this second book would stand on its own, it was nice to have the background going into it. With that said, Judith Miller does a great job building the characters and setting. Rose McKay is a strong female character who knows what she wants. After graduating from design school she travels back home to live with her brother, Ewan, and his family. Ewan has been displaced from his job and is looking to purchase a brickyard with financing from his mother-in-law. Ewan and Rose visit a pottery that is for sale in the same town as the brickyard. Rose convinces her brother and his family to purchase the pottery. But problems begin to pop up from the workers and to lack of contracts. On the other hand, Rose's beau, Joshua Harkness' pottery is doing a great job at landing contracts. Rose fears the pottery may not have been a good choice until a letter arrives from her former headmistress about an art contest. Ewan insists that Rose and Rylan Campbell work together to produce a winning entry. Will they be able to put aside their differences and create a winning entry? Will they figure out why they cannot obtain more contracts to grow the pottery business? This is a historical fiction set in West Virginia. There is reference to several sites well known for their pottery. I happen to live near a few of these sites and so this novel intrigued me. If you like historical fiction with romance mingled in, then pick up "The Potter's Lady." I received this book free from Bethany House to review.
With great attention to historical details, Judith Miller ushers readers back to 1872. I really enjoyed the vivid imagery of the pottery works and design process. I also enjoyed the wonderful characterization. There were heroes and heroines to delight in and villains to detest. While some aspects of the plot were easily anticipated, the charm of the main characters allowed me to remain engaged in the story. A historical tale with a subtle romance, The Potter’s Lady is a recommended read for historical fiction fans. I enjoyed The Potter’s Lady without having read Book 1, The Brickmaker’s Bride. It was apparent that family and business history was shared in the first book. Although plenty of details were included in this narrative, I believe reading The Brickmaker’s Bride first would have enhanced the reading of The Potter’s Lady. I received a complimentary copy of The Potter’s Lady from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. I appreciate the opportunity to read this story and share my thoughts.
The Potter’s Lady by Judith McCoy Miller is an historical Christian novel. Rose McKay has just graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Rose enjoyed the education but not the bullying, teasing, and pranks from her fellow classmates because she is of Irish descent. Her brother, Ewan is looking for a new business venture and is trying to decide between two companies. One is a brickworks which is familiar to Ewan (he worked in a brickworks company with his Uncle Hugh) or a pottery business. Rose is excited when Ewan picks the pottery business. Rose is hoping to use her design skills to help make the company successful. Rylan Campbell is the right-hand man to the former owner. Ewan keeps him on for his expertise. Rose and Rylan clash at the beginning of the venture. Rose has many new ideas for the pottery and does not let any moss grow under feet as she tries to implement them. Rose is being courted by Joshua Harkness, whose family owns Harkness Pottery Works. Joshua is currently running the operation, but this is only a stepping stone on his way to the top. Rose is unimpressed of the tour of his operations and she hopes to convince him to change his way (money is more important to Joshua). As Ewan and Rylan go about increasing business, they are submitting bids to many companies. They keep getting turned down for the bigger jobs. They cannot figure out how they are being outbid. When Rose hears about a pottery competition, she knows that this will help save their business venture. Rose and Rylan will need to work together to make the best presentation. If they win the competition, they will get a big contract. But someone is out to make sure that they do not win. Who is behind their lost bids? Will Rose and Rylan be able to solve the mystery in time? The Potter’s Lady was a good book. I liked the story. I found Rose a little naïve and Rylan a wee bit weak. I give The Potter’s Lady 4 out of 5 stars. It was interesting to read about the pottery industry. I have always enjoyed seeing how pottery items are made or produced. The Potter's Lady is a nice, easy book to read on a Saturday afternoon. I received a complimentary copy of The Potter’s Lady from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
A thoroughly enjoyable book about love, listening and seeking the Lord before you act with my favorite subjects added, art and business. I definitely recommend this book, it leaves you feeling good! This book was provided to me free from Bethany House for review.
Just so you know, I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review, but all opinions here are my own. The Potter’s Lady is set in the 1870’s West Virginia and Pennsylvania and is the story of first generation Irish immigrants who are working to buy and build a pottery business. The main character of the story, Rose McKay, has just graduated from the Philadelphia Design School for Women, but is struggling with feeling like an outcast as a result from being ostracized at the school. Eager to make a new start and use her talent, she convinces her family to invest in a pottery business over a brickmaking business that they are more familiar with. The family must then struggle to make the business work with the help of Rylan Campbell, and young man with a past to overcome. The plot involves a developing romance between Rose McKay and two of the male characters as well as relationship struggles with extended family and friends who deliberately cause trouble for the family. The part of the story line that was a little bit hard for me to buy was that a young unmarried woman would have been allowed to have such an important role in the running of a manufacturing business, in this a case a pottery, along side her married brother in the 1870’s. I was also surprised to know that there design schools for young women at this time period in United States history – or maybe not? Now I have to go research this to see. I felt the beginning was a little slow and it took me to the second half of the book to really get into it. As is characteristic of this author, the book is a good clean read. Even though two of the characters in the book were obviously engaging in an illicit affair, there were no scenes beyond kissing. The main characters grow spiritually and emotionally, and the lessons are effective and thought provoking for the reader. Although every page is not filled with scriptures or constant references to them, the characters make most of their important decisions by praying and seeking God’s will. The surprising part of the book for me was that the lessons being learned by the main characters spoke to me personally and I found I got more than I thought I would from the story. A mixture of predictability and surprise, The Potter’s Lady is a good read.
If you haven't read The Brickmaker's Bride make sure you do, as this is a sequel and I loved it as much as the first. Judith Miller is a masterful storyteller and she is at her best in this series. The plot is carefully woven with interesting characters, some who are unsavory, as in real life. Learning to trust God and His faithfulness in the difficult times is a lesson for Rose McCay, as she watches her brother Ewan and Rylan Campbell. I enjoyed this book and would have read it in one sitting if I had time. I received this book as a gift from Bethany House and have given an honest review.