devil’s cut, by j. r. ward

Fans of the wildly successful Bourbon Kings have been waiting a year for the final installment in this captivating trilogy. The anticipation was quelled a little over two weeks ago when Devil’s Cut was released to well-deserved praise. Readers will easily be drawn back into the world of the rich, powerful, and incredibly dysfunctional. There were so many loose ends to tie up:

  • Edward was in jail for killing his father, William Baldwine
  • Sutton had been banished from Edward’s life and was stepping into the role of CEO of Bradford’s rival in the world of Kentucky bourbon
  • Chantal was pregnant with her recently murdered fathers-in-law baby
  • Lane had blackmailed his best friend into becoming CEO of Bradford Bourbon Company (BBC), while reconnecting with the love of his life Lizzie
  • Miss Aurora has succumbed to a coma as a result of her rapidly spreading cancer, complicated by her age and sickle-cell
  • Let’s not forget Gin’s marriage made in Hell to Richard Pford, in spite of her heart belonging to Samuel T., who we found out is Amelia’s father
  • And why has the black sheep of the family, Max, come home?

Rest assured, Ward delivered in bringing resolution to all outstanding cliffhangers–except for why that finger was buried in the yard? If anyone comes across the reason for that, please let me know. On the whole, this finale to the series was just as enthralling as the first 2 books and I for one am sad to see the series end. (Though rumor has it NBC has purchased the rights to make it a tv series. Fingers crossed on that one–pun intended.)

There are twists and turns a plenty in the book, with threads of humor, and Ward’s classic style of keeping you on the edge of every chapter by alternating story arcs throughout. In the end, the result is a cohesive tale that holds true to the essence of all of the characters we’ve come to love and hate, and some whose opinion may even swing from one side to the other.

I have to admit that I loved this series far more than I thought I would and found myself anxiously awaiting each book. A child of the 80’s, I was a huge fan of Dynasty, Knots Landing, and the original Dallas so this plot line was right up my alley. You see that money can’t buy peace of mind and certainly not morals. It also doesn’t shield anyone from hurt, feelings of inadequacy, mental or physical abuse. I guess the rich really are just like “us.”

It goes without saying to make sure to get your hands on this book as quickly as possible so your friends don’t start revealing spoilers. While a year can sometimes seem like forever when it comes to books, the wait was definitely worth it in this case.

 

the angel’s share, by j. r. ward

angel's shareingredients:
Drama, suspense, and a little humor.

servings:
If you read The Bourbon Kings and loved Dynasty, Dallas, and the likes this will be up your alley.

rating:

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preparation:
I read The Bourbon Kings in 2 days. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did, though I don’t know why. I was a huge Dynasty fan and loved Dallas by proxy of my mother. So, considering how The Bourbon Kings ended, I was anxious to read the continuing saga. And a saga it is.

It’s a well-known fact that if I don’t like any characters in a  book, odds are, I’m not going to like the book overall; and that was the case in this one. In the first book, I actually liked several of the characters–in this one, some that I liked in book 1, I grew to dislike in The Angel’s Share.

Lane turns into a serial black-mailer with questionable ethics. He, himself begins to fear he is turning into his father. The volatile relationship between Gin and Richard is disturbing on many levels. She is admittedly allowing him to beat and rape her, repeatedly, because she fears being poor. Edward, the shell of a man that he is, actually begins to show signs of life in this book–but only because of his impending fate–which is unfortunate.

The truly redeeming characters in this book are Lizzie, who is too good to be true. Miss Aurora is the embodiment of every stereotype of a black worker in the south employed by a rich family. Which leaves us with Samuel T., the only character who is truly fun and has embraced his flaws and those of the people around him, and finds the humor in all situations.

There is little to no resolution in this book from the events set in motion from book 1. It appears that book 3 (which there has to be) has the potential to tie up some of the loose ends that are currently hanging. By the end of this book, the cliché’s are in full effect. Predictable continues to be a theme and at this point, book 3 isn’t of interest to me, personally.

difficulty level:
Hard. This was a tough read for me because it was so obvious on so many levels. It’s not poorly written, but honestly, I don’t care about the Renoir’s hanging in the game room and the Aubusson rugs in the parlor. I know others love this series, I’m just not one of them.