The story takes place in West Virginia, shortly after the Civil War has ended, and centers around a family of Irish brickmakers who emigrate to the United States. Shortly after arriving, they begin to search for a brickyard to purchase and run as the family business.
Their search takes them to West Virginia where they find a brickyard, owned by a widow and her daughter, for sale. The brickyard meets all of their requirements and Ewan and his Uncle Hugh reach a price and establish transfer conditions that meet with their liking. Included in those conditions are the daughter’s help in getting the yard up and running and using the families influence to help secure contracts. Both of which are frowned upon by the family’s lawyer, who has also asked the widow for her daughter’s hand in marriage.
But, as soon as the yard’s sale is finalized, problems arise, caused mainly by Uncle Hugh’s bad habits, careless business sense and his wife’s controlling nature: Leaving Ewan to make sure the yard secures contracts and turns a profit, in spite of the rest of the family.
While several reviewers complained of to much detail about the workings and running of a brickyard and producing bricks, I found both to be interesting and with just the right amount of detail. I also learned a few things about West Virginia history that I wasn’t aware of.
As for the story, I thought it was fairly well-written, with a few twists and turns but, nothing to get overly excited about. Character development was good and, other than finding it hard to believe everyone put up with Hugh’s wife, most of them were believable.
So, a good read, especially if your genre is Historical Fiction or, you’re into brickyards and brickmaking.
An enjoyable read.