Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Potter's Lady - Judith Miller

Having successfully graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design, Rose McKay convinces her brother Ewan, to buy a pottery business.

Taking over from the respected owner will be a daunting prospect for Ewan as his expertise is with bricks. So when Mr. Bancock, the ill and aging proprietor requested that his loyal assistant Rylan Campbell be kept on, Ewan is happy to abide by the suggestion.

With a good business head, Ewan keeps all the staff, not just Rylan, Rose begins to make changes - cleaning work areas, schooling for the child workers - most agree but Rylan, uncomfortable with change tries to make everyone see it's best for the pottery.

When they start to lose business, Rose receives a letter from her Alma Mater's principle about a contest that she thinks the McKay pottery should consider entering. The Franklin Hotels will grant a commission where the winning entrant will create an urn and plate ware for all the Franklin Hotels. It's a chance/opportunity to get the McKay Pottery name on the map.

However, Rose's beau - Joshua Harkness, owner of Harkness Potteries - seems to be a sticking point with her design partner, Rylan. The young Irishman suspects that there is something amiss between Harkness and Beatrice, the McKay's nanny. Should he disclose his suspicions?

Will Rose and Rylan be able to set aside their differences and create an amazing work of art as well as a cost-effective design for every day? Or will Joshua succeed in claiming Rose for his own and be the downfall of McKay Pottery?

Set in the 1870s, Miller's novel is a well written, engaging drama. The story of Rose's burning ambition and desire to make her mark in the world is tempered by the slow romance building between her and Rylan. Nicely descriptive, the characters met are appealing and sometimes provocative.

I really enjoyed reading this book. There was a hint of predictability with the plot, but with appealing family members it wasn't a hard slog to read. With such a story, I knew and expected some altercation to take place, but it's handled well (and in keeping with the era). The story is a yarn gently woven with moments of intricacy. It's about trust, family loyalty, hard work and ultimately faith in God and the path that He has chosen. A recommended read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House as part of their blogging program to review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique.

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