July 26, 2016

Drama with a splash of bourbon

By J.R. Ward
Review by

In J.R. Ward’s The Angel’s Share (the second in her Bourbon Kings series), the mighty Bradford family has fallen.

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In J.R. Ward’s The Angels' Share, the second in her Bourbon Kings series, the mighty Bradford family has fallen. Patriarch William’s apparent suicide is beginning to look like murder. And since the man bred hate more easily than most people draw breath, there is no shortage of suspects. There is also no one at the helm of the Bradford Bourbon Company—or the BBC as it’s known—their billion-dollar family business. It falls to Lane, the youngest Bradford brother and a former playboy (reformed now that he's gotten serious with gardener Lizzie King), to take charge.

It soon becomes clear that William has left the business all but bankrupt. And the hits keep coming as Lane uncovers one transgression committed by his father after another, all of which threaten the family estate of Easterly and the survival of the BBC. Still, Lane is damned if their generations-old family business will fail on his watch. But this is new territory he’s trying to map his way through, and he is certainly getting little help from his family. His mother is a prescription medicine-addicted recluse, oldest brother Edward is a fragile shadow of his former self after the kidnapping and torture he suffered on his father’s orders, Lane’s middle brother Max is MIA, and his wild child sister, Gin . . . Well, she’s Gin—not interested in being useful.

The Angels' Share hosts a large cast of characters. If you missed The Bourbon Kings, the first book in the series, it may take you a while to get them all straight and become truly engaged in the story. Yet these characters will suck you in. A number one New York Times bestseller many times over, J.R. Ward has written an operatic lollapalooza of a story, filled with a rich mix of good guys, bad guys, back stabbers and hard workers, high-stakes business deals and small gems of personal growth. Ward has infused it throughout with her affection for Southern sensibility, which sings in the characters she has created, who love, care and fight for the continued success of Easterly and the BBC.

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