I don’t usually recommend picking up a book located in the middle or at the end of a series without having read the earlier stories, but I recently did exactly that… “The Artisan’s Wife” was written by Judith Miller and published by Bethany House in 2016, as the third and final installment in the “Refined by Love” series. Although numerous references were made to the earlier stories (because each book is about a different member of the same family) “The Artisan’s Wife” still stood strong all on its own, and gave just enough explanation to make the recurring characters understandable without re-telling their entire stories!
Unexpectedly, my favorite aspects of this book were the detailed and obviously painstakingly researched descriptions of tile-making in the 1800s. It was truly fascinating! From pile of clay to beautifully completed tile, the process was explained in rich detail. Additionally, the art of mosaic design played a vital role in the plot of the story and conjured up beautiful images of intricate designs in my imagination. Aside from tile-making, the rest of the book was comprised of a predictable but sweet romance, slightly unrealistic but likable characters, and a slow but enjoyable plot. The addition of an insane asylum added some much-needed drama and additional characters, along with a second layer of setting.
Honestly, “The Artisan’s Wife” was a rather forgettable book which became memorable because of absorbing and unique descriptions of a forgotten art. Tile-making is captivating… Or at least it is when Judith Miller tells you about it! Although the characters and their stories weren’t quite enough to make me want to pick up the previous books in the series, the lure of learning about brick-making (from “The Brickmaker’s Bride”) and pottery (from “The Potter’s Lady”) may lead me to search out these titles from the library in the near future.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”