by Judith McCoy Miller (Goodreads Author)Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business
and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.
But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.
My Review: 6/10
This was an enjoyable read. But I think it would have been refreshingly unique if a couple of things were different. I wished that Ewan's point of view wasn't included. It wasn't always believable (come on, no man would remark to himself that he "noticed a scent of Jasmine.") and it would have added some suspense to not be so confident of his feelings. That might have made Laura's uncertainties more believable.
But even more so, it would have been refreshing to have a poor Scots-Irishman with some pride, thinking he may have been poor, but he could be any man's equal. He could prove genteel, intelligent, hardworking, successful, without being born to priviledge. I just really don't like the self-pitying that's chalked up to rank and unfortunately for me, that seems to be the most popular mode of conflict in this genre. Come on, ladies! Give me a strong, confident, charming lead character!
Apart from that, there was so much to love about this book. I'm a Pittsburgh native, so despite the less than flattering commentary, I loved the history from beginning to end. I agreed with and appreciated many of the Christian themes. Some of the ones chosen were not the usual choices: waiting on God, not judging another person's faith/standing with God, honesty and integrity in every situation, God working all things- even suffering, loss, and death- for good, being disappointed in God's answers, and healing your relationship with God. So much truth in these pages.
Ewan was one of the most upright men after God's heart that I've seen depicted in print. I realize that he was human and made mistakes. But I felt that a couple of his inconsistencies should have been addressed as mistakes. He did enter into a deception with Kathleen, when providing her with information on the dinner party that she did not attend. Why didn't he just turn around and take her home? Yes he would have been late, but better to be late than assist Kathleen in compromising herself. And while he did not specifically instruct her to lie, I've learned that the state of the heart matters as much as the words themselves when it comes to God's standards. Just as being angry with someone is as severe in His eyes as murder, a deceitful heart and carefully worded omissions are equal to lies (Matthew 5:21-22). Ewan is careful not to technically utter a lie himself, but never seems to realize that a deceitful heart and following actions are still guilty of the sin.
I didn't like the kiss between Ewan and Laura. Despite their feelings, she was in a relationship with Winston. Harboring feelings for another man is bad enough and then you add in kissing. I lost some respect for them both.
Hugh's conversion was a little too abrupt for me, but I'm glad that it happened.
I look forward to checking out more books by this author.