*I received a free copy of The Bourbon Thief from Harlequin MIRA via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Harlequin MIRA on 28 June 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge
When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it's to discover he's been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it's property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.
In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.
I’m not sure how Reisz does it – The Bourbon Thief has an amazing narrator who knows how to spin a story, and it’s like a mixture between a dark fairytale and a melancholy history lesson.
The one and only progress update I made while I was reading The Bourbon Thief was this : This whole story has me on the edge of tears, there’s such a strong melancholy, or unfinished sadness here I can hardly stand it! And that feeling of being on the edge of tears stayed with me for the duration of the story – and I just couldn’t stop reading. Always needing to know what would happen next, I was completely mesmerized from start to finish. Reisz is such an amazing story-teller, and it was truly a joy to have a chance to read her new title before it is released!
The Bourbon Thief switches seamlessly between past and present, because Paris, who is the one telling the story to Cooper, and as a by-product the readers get the story as well. It is a story about wealth, greed, oppression and lies. The way Paris shares the story with Cooper, and the reason behind it had me in awe of both the character and the author at the same time. It is genius to both let some of the plot unfold in front of the readers’ eyes, while also plunging us all into the past through the story-telling skills of one of the characters. There are some very chilling connections throughout the story, and there are some I’m still trying to understand – especially because Paris seemed set on Cooper, and there seems to me there could be more to this story.
While The Bourbon Thief is quite different from the Original Sinners series, there is something about the story that is just as addictive as the series. I think part of it is how the story unfolds, how both the reader and Cooper are being kept in suspense as Paris uses all her cunning as she crafts a story that is so captivating it’s impossible to look away. Even when I felt that I maybe should look away – I still really wanted to see up close what was going to happen. And in many ways, it was devastating. I had many moments when I thought I would know what was going to happen next, only to see that I was completely wrong. And I loved that the story took me on twists and turns that made it both exhilarating and more than a little chilling.
Written in past tense, third person, sometimes from Cooper’s perspective but most of the time told from Paris’ point of view, the story had a great pace, even, and not too fast. If you enjoy a story in which you become completely engrossed, characters that entice you to keep turning the pages and writing that takes your breath away, The Bourbon Thief is the book for you.
Her dress was tight as old Scrooge’s fist, red as Rudolph’s nose , and looking at her, McQueen had only one thought – Christmas had come awfully early this year.
Now it was her turn to spin on her bar stool, ninety degrees, and she met him face on with full eye contact, fearless and shameless. “I could own you by morning.” Her words rendered McQueen momentarily speechless.
“Can’t hear you,” she sang out. “I’m riding in the wind with joy at my feet and freedom in my hear.”