Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Potter's Lady by Judith Miller

Rose is our potter's lady in this historical novel of 1870s West Virginia. She's just graduated from the Philadelphia Design School for Women and is now back home. Her brother, Ewan, wants to buy a business and Rose convinces him to buy a pottery factory. She feels she can be of greater use to her brother in that business than in the brick making one he was also considering.

Rose has high ideals. After Ewan purchased the pottery factory, Rose wants the children to go to school for part of the day and she wants the workers to clean their work spaces. The men do not take kindly to her desires. Rose knows the children need a chance for education but their fathers don't see it. Rose also knows that the dust from the pottery finishing process is bad for workers' lungs. But again, the men don't see the worth of that task.

Rose is also an artist. She would rather concentrate on quality than quantity. Joshua, her sort of beau and pottery owner in another town, is all about money. He emphasizes quantity in his factory. Don't we see the same kind of business practices happening today?

There is some intrigue in the novel as Ewan's pottery bids are consistently ruled out when underbid by Joshua's company. There is some romance too, though it is understated. I would have liked to learn a little more about the pottery industry at the time.

There are some good lessons to learn from this novel. One is the useless nature of trying to fill a hole in one's life with money or things. That kind of greed will never end up fulfilling a person's soul. On the other side is the lesson of trusting God to meet the needs of life. That's the only way one will feel truly satisfied.

I found the novel slow going, especially the first half. The novel is not a page-turner but I did appreciate the attention to historic detail. One finds out much about Philadelphia and West Virginia during the period.

This book is the sequel to The Brickmaker's Bride and you can read my review of that book here.

Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her best-selling novels. She lives in Topeka, Kansas. Find out more at

Bethany House Publishers, 337 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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