The Brickmaker’s Bride
In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.
Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it’s Ewan’s job to get the company up and running again.
Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner’s daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she’s being courted by another man–a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he’ll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.
But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan’s hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?
Introducing Ewan & Laura
Brief physical description
Meet Laura Woodfield, the female protagonist in The Brickmaker’s Bride. Laura has curly, dark auburn hair, and pale blue eyes. She is age 24 when the story opens.
Strengths and weaknesses
Ewan is devoted to family and is a man of his word. He also is a man of faith and trust. His trust in God is rewarded, but his trust in others sometimes causes him a great deal of pain and difficulty. I admire those traits. The female protagonist, Laura Woodfield, has a loving and generous spirit which makes her endearing.
Laura is a sweet yet determined woman who has a deep love of children. She is intelligent and helped her father with the contracts and bookwork at th e brickyard the family owned and operated before her father left to fight in the Civil War. However, she’s somewhat swayed by personal problems when making decisions regarding the man she will marry.
Your inspiration for the characters
My mother had old family photo albums in the attic when she moved many years ago. The pictures of Ewan and Laura are from one of those albums and provided the inspiration for Ewan and Laura. Having a personal connection through the pictures made Ewan and Laura come alive for me. I wish I knew the actual names and more about them, but I wasn’t able to glean anything further. Having only their photographs permitted me the opportunity to create characters I thought “fit” their pictures, and I hope readers will agree.
Background to the story
I’m drawn to unique settings and areas as well as areas of the country where I have some personal bond. The Refined by Love series is set in West Virginia, the birthplace of my father, and the state where my mother lived from the time she was a young girl. I spent many summer vacations in West Virginia and still visit my sister who has lived there for more than forty years. There aren’t a lot of stories set in West Virginia and I wanted my readers to have a glimpse of the country they might not have previously read about or visited.
Because I was setting the series in the state where my father was born and lived most of his life, I researched some of my paternal genealogy and discovered his branch of family was Scots-Irish. They came to the United States and temporarily settled in Pennsylvania before moving into the area that was then Virginia and later, when the Civil War erupted, broke off and became the state of West Virginia. I drew upon my personal history and included some of the research in my story. Because I wanted to reveal something other than the coal industry to readers, I decided to emphasize the clay deposits in the state, so this first book features the many challenges Ewan McKay faces as he indentures himself to his uncle with the promise that he can bring his sisters from Ireland and one day have the opportunity to purchase a business of his own.