Ye Olde Brick Tavern is a romantic novel with a historical background that takes place in a rural town west of Boston. The story takes place at a time in American history when the country cried out for a better life and economic changes. The coming railroad, which was needed to make the change, became a threat to the area where people feared their established way of life would be destroyed. High demands for hay would not longer be needed. Horse sales would quickly decline, making life insecure.
Years earlier, taverns were built along the highways to receive weary travelers who came to expect restful sanctuary and meals after long journeys. These taverns were important as an only means of communication between the townspeople and the outside world. The taverns were a central force in the rural areas where life existed around them. Intimate relationships grew and talks of poverty and personal struggles took precedence. In this time of economic struggle of the 1840's, drinking became rampant, arguments on the coming railroad excited everyone and they were constant wherever men gathered. On many occasions, fights broke out. Farmer-fought farmer for allowing property to be taken by the railroad that was needed for laying down tracks across their farmlands and where trains could pass through to the next town. The human emotions of love-hate-envy prevail.
Ye Olde Brick Tavern is a host to many different characters, each with his own hardships and problems. Jane, a young woman, whose husband is lost at sea, is left to struggle in order to survive. Hungry, tired, and penniless, she finds refuge when an ailing uncle asks for help in running his tavern. Needing a place to live, after being forced out of her husbands family house, Jane welcomes the opportunity to go there. The heavy demands of running another persons business become burdensome. Jane also cares for her recently orphaned nieces, Elizabeth and Kate. They discover living with their aunt difficult following the death of their parents. Forced to live a different life style, they found it bothersome. As they see how burdened their aunt is, they try easing her work load in the taverns kitchen. To please the girls, Jane gives them false hopes of a better life.
Jacob, in his early thirties, a determined man with apparent means and a suspicious, aristocratic air, pursues Jane with his romantic ideas and needs. With constant hope for her husbands return, she turns him away repeatedly.
A native American, named Broken Wing (Bro), a permanent tavern resident, with a deep attachment for the property, sees and hears most of what goes on at the inn. He says little, fearing threats of being forced out.
Several other characters lend color to the story. The troublesome neighbor, Ronus, who becomes enmeshed into the lives of some tavern people, adds to Janes problems. And Robert, a quiet man, also adds to the heavy work load, but he needs a place to live while teaching at a nearby school and is welcome to stay.
More burdens fall upon the tavern as railroad workers lay track closer to the road house, needing food and service. Neighbors, in hopes of learning more news on the railroads progress and news of other towns, frequent the tavern more often. Although these people add to the volume of work, their visits help increase the bars income.
As the nieces become more independent, wanting to return to their former life style, Jane once again gives them false hopes to quiet them. Luckily, Elizabeth finds a neighborhood friend and life goes on somewhat smoother.
Jacob returns home after a long stay in the wilds. Jane turns to him with his long awaited love, and blindly accepts him as her admirer. Was this man right for her? Could he have become involved with another woman while waiting for Jane to change her mind?
As lives change from events taking place at the tavern, it causes Jane many heartbreaks. The railroad veers north to anoth