Judith McCoy Miller, I have been in love with her books. Some of my favorites of her books are the Amana series. Now she is wrapping up the West Virginia series with The Artisan's Wife. The Potter's Lady and the Brickmaker's Bride comprise the other two books in this series. It's been fun reading this series because of Judith's skill in writing it.
When Ainslee's world is turned topsy-turvy because her twin sister elopes, she goes to Weston to take over the tile works, which was the dream of her sister, not her. One of the first things she does is to hire a man who wants to make mosaic tiles, Levi Judson. He has moved to Weston to be near his brother, a patient in the local asylum. Suddenly, Ainslee does not want to leave Weston, but make a go of making the tile works a viable business. She also wants to get the bid for the West Virginia Museum.
In creating her characters, Judith has taken some unusual traits and woven them into the personalities of those populating her book. Ainslee is smarter than most women are thought to be during the time period of history (1870's). She just doesn't see herself as creative. The creative people, for the most part, are incarcerated in the asylum. By using the asylum as part of the setting, Judith has awakened awareness of the life in a place where some people do not belong. She also points to the power men had over women that was irrefutable.
In setting up the romance between Ainslee and Levi, Judith had the relationship grow slowly through friendship and through working together on a project both of them are passionate about. There wasn't a boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back formula in this book.
This is a five-star, two thumbs up, and a beautiful tile mosaic book.
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.