How to Make a Pot in 14 Easy Lessons by Nicola Pearson is the story of Joe, a potter, and Lucy, the British actress he has fallen in love with. Needless to say to anyone who has attempted pottery, throwing a pot together from lumps of earth is not easy—and that doesn’t take into inconsideration that the pot will survive the firing process! Hence, Pearson’s insightful basis for this delightful and unique love story.
Lucy and Joe’s lifestyles could not be more different: Lucy is following a plan she has created for herself so she can experience working in theaters around the world, while Joe lives a simple life in the lush countryside of Western Washington, making his clay pots and expecting the unexpected with each firing of the kiln.
Each phase of their relationship is based on the metaphor of making pots, a process that is as fluid and unpredictable as life.
The story begins just as Joe has convinced Lucy to abandon her plan to travel to Australia to work as an actress and instead, move to Seattle. Even as Lucy agrees and boards the plane to fly out of Kennedy Airport in New York, she is troubled. One part of her is thrilled to be moving closer to Joe, while another part is worried that she has abandoned her passionate career plans for a man, something she promised herself that she would never do.
Thus begins the journey of two people, one certain in the beginning that he wants to marry, the other troubled by emotions and impulsive decisions she doesn’t understand.
While Lucy becomes more certain as time passes that she has made the right decision, Joe becomes less certain, less convinced that their relationship can work. Unpredictable events outside the couple’s control will force clarity on both, pushing them to confront their feelings and their relationship.
Pearson has painted in vivid detail the lives of these two characters, as well as the ups and downs of a developing relationship. Her elaborate descriptions of the Pacific Northwest immerse the reader in the beauty of the Skagit Valley countryside where Joe builds his pots. Joe’s five acres, his home, and the minutiae of his daily life are depicted in such picturesque fashion as to bring the setting alive as a character in the novel. Readers will also enjoy the entertaining characters who add color and foils to Pearson’s captivating story.
Pearson’s skill in describing the art of pottery making as a metaphor for the unpredictable nature of one’s life is unique and urges the reader to think about the lessons learned by the characters long after finishing the book. Fans of women’s fiction will certainly be waiting for more stories from this author.