• A Man Always Takes Care of His Own
The Angels' Share Book Cover The Angels' Share
The Bourbon Kings
J. R. Ward
New American Library
July 26, 2016
Kindle E-book

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series--a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation... 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?

free copyThe Angels Will Always Take Their Share

The Angel’s Share follows the trials and tribulations of the Bradford Baldwine family, owners of the most prosperous and famous bourbon company in the United States. On the surface, the title of the book refers to the amount of alcohol that evaporates during the bourbon maturation process, which according to folklore, is taken by the angels. But of course, there is far more to the title than that! As the privileged Baldwine children are about to find out, the angels must always get their share of what is good in life…and there is a price for everything.

This is not my usual kind of book, as I tend more towards urban fantasy and the paranormal, but it hooked me almost instantly. There is a little something for everyone: a glimpse into the lifestyles of the Southern aristocracy, murder, mystery, sex, and intrigue. The plot moves quickly as it changes point of view often, allowing the reader a glimpse into the story from each of the Baldwine children’s perspectives. The only reason I didn’t give The Angel’s Share five stars is because I would have liked the mystery of who killed the reviled family patriarch, William Baldwine, to have lasted a bit longer. Although an arrest was not made until the end of the book, the outcome was obvious fairly early on. This didn’t keep the story from gripping my attention, but as a personal preference I like to be left guessing until the end.

However, what was left as an open mystery until the end, was the true motive behind the murder. For most of the story, it seemed like a  straight forward case of vengeance, but it ended up being much more complicated. While vengeance did factor into the murder, it was also done as an act of loving sacrifice; a man doing what he thought he must to take care of his own. And so the story closed by begging the question: is murder always bad, or can it be a tool to lead to an ultimate good?

Although the murder of William Baldwine is neatly solved by the end of the story many questions about the fate of the family remain, making me eager to see what the third book in the series will eventually reveal! Take this book with you on a plane, train, or car trip…it will make the travel time speed by!