THE ANGELS’ SHARE
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Published Date: July 26, 2016
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Source: Received for an honest review
In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…
No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.
Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?
The Angels’ Share is the second book of J.R. Ward’s new series, The Bourbon Kings. Picking up where the first book left off, The Angels’ Share both deepens the mystery and deepens the melodrama. This series may be talked about as a romance, but it is much closer in form and function to a soap opera with its cast and type of characters.
I’m enjoying the series and I enjoyed the book a great deal. But the trick to that is to abandon any ideas about this series being a romance and just enjoy it as it is. It’s easy to see the evolution of Ward’s writing style in these books. For those used to her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, this large cast with many points of view will be familiar. What may not be is the language. This book and it’s predecessor is undeniably Southern. The language, the names (how can I not love Lane being a short form of Tulane?), the charm and clothing (Samuel T. is a clotheshorse!), the manners and mannerisms are all so very Southern. While there are tiny breaks in language where the cadence and feel is more BDB, they are very few and very far between. This is not an urban environment and that language wouldn’t work well within this world.
Like the first book, The Angels’ Share jumps among a number of points of view, though the focal points seem to remain the same in Lane and Lizzie. Around them swirl family and friends, dependents and servants, and the ever-present law enforcement. The dance among the groups and the individuals is deep and fraught with pain more than anything else. If I had only one line to describe this book it would be this: “This is the equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back.”
Lane and Lizzie continue to deal with everything hitting the family together, with Lane taking point on the business and Lizzie taking point on the house. Edward is further revealed and is one character I want to know a lot more about. Gin continues to not make good choices. Samuel T. simultaneously makes me want to smack him upside the head and thank him. Miss Aurora is a mystery I long to unravel.
But underneath the melodrama of it all, there is a deep well of emotion. I was moved to tears by a scene between Edward and his drug-addled mother in which she fails to recognize him and then introduces him to “her son Edward” showing him Lane. As heartbreaking as that moment is, Edward’s concern when he accidentally leaves the room by the wrong door with his mother thinking he is a servant and how that would upset her just tore me apart. It just illuminates the beauty and love in Edward’s character. In a world where no one is good, Edward is one of two characters who are undeniably saints, and I’m not 100% sure of the other one.
I know I am dying to uncover the mysteries of the Bradfords and Baldwines and that I can’t wait for the next book.
Heat Rating: Hot
REVIEWED BY: Monique Neaves
Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More