Okay, so I was already liking this story a few pages into it, and then… The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum showed itself. You guys know how I am about history, and about Ghost Hunters. The nearly-new Trans-Allegheny becoming one of the main settings for this book made it kind of special to me. Silly, I know!
The publisher’s blurb:
Delightful Blend of History and Romance
Ainslee McKay’s world is shaken when she discovers her twin sister has not only eloped with a man she barely knows but now Ainslee must fulfill their obligation at a tile works in Weston, West Virginia. Ainslee must learn the ropes and, if she can keep the tile works profitable, her brother will help her sell the business.
When Levi Judson arrives and shows Ainslee his designs for new tiles, she’s impressed by his skill and passion for the business. But he’s hiding his true reason for coming to Weston. And Ainslee knows he’d be crushed to learn his plans for a long career at McKay Tile Works are in vain since she intends to sell. Can the growing feelings between them survive if the truth comes to light–or is a future together as untenable as the future of the tile works itself?
What I thought of the book:
This was different than your “usual” romance, in that there weren’t constant impediments to a relationship between Ainslee McKay and Levi Judson. They both began realizing their attraction for one another around the same time, and neither of them seemed to want to fight it. No one kept arguing with himself/herself about propriety, or how this wouldn’t fit into the life either had chosen.
Ainslee’s twin sister, Adaira, has always been very artistic, unlike Ainslee who is quite content to teach school. Adaira convinces their older brother, Ewan, to purchase a tile works so she can use her talents, with the understanding that Ainslee would accompany Adaira to Weston and manage the business end of things. Then… Adaira runs off with a man she’s fallen in love with, leaving Ainslee to deal with the tile works by herself.
Levi had moved to Weston, West Virginia, to be near his brother, Noah, who is a resident at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Ainslee volunteers to create a lending library for the female residents, learning that many of the women have been committed to the asylum not for insanity but because a husband wanted to be rid of a wife, or a brother thought this would be the best way to acquire a sister’s fortune. (Personally, I loved this part of the book, delving into what really happened in lunatic asylums in the late 1800s.)
The Artisan’s Wife is the third book in the “Refined By Love” series by Judith Miller. It’s one of those stories you can read by itself without having to have read the previous books in the series. The characters are all provided with explanations so the first-time reader can keep up with the plots. It’s well-written and a good read.
**I was sent this copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**