Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: The Artisan's Wife

The Artisan's Wife. Judith Miller. 2016. Bethany House Publishers. Pages: 333. [Source: Netgalley / Bethany House Publishers review program]

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?


Rating: ★★✩✩

I was sorely disappointed with this novel. At points I thought the story was going well, but then the jumbled plot soured my opinion of the story. When I chose to read and review this novel, I expected that the story would revolve around Ainslee and how she struggled to keep the fact that she wanted to sell the tile works from the man she fell in love with. Instead, Ainslee's older brother drops the bomb in front of the man she loves, a man who is one of her employees (that's why she was trying to keep the secret from him). And she wasn't madly in love with him at the time - yet.

I couldn't get into this novel, and not because it was the third novel in a series (something I didn't know when I requested the novel). The interactions, reactions, and the way the characters felt stilted, unrealistic to me. I know that Judith Miller put a lot of time and energy and thought into the story, but I didn't like it.

The plot felt strung out. The tension that could have been gained was let go half-way through the novel (the secret about wanting to sell the tile works), and the sudden appearance of "awful" Aunt Margaret and subsequent death seemed unneeded and pointless to the story - it probably would have seemed less pointless to me if I was forewarned about the novel being the third in its series and I had read the first two instalments. There wasn't enough forewarning about Aunt Margaret for her part to mesh with the rest of the story. 

I wish I liked the story more, because I really did like Ainslee. And I really felt for her when her twin sister took off on her and eloped. But that wasn't enough.

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