I enjoyed the first book this series in an indulgent night-time soap sort of way. And I had even higher hopes for this second installment. After all, I love a good scarred, tortured hero, and Edward definitely fits the bill. In The Bourbon Kings, JR Ward clearly set up the romance between him and Sutton, the daughter of the rival distillery. Or did she?
I think one of my big problems with this book was its total failure to meet my expectations. Maybe that’s my fault. Perhaps I should not have assumed this was Edward’s book. Heck, maybe I shouldn’t have assumed that there would be a romance in each book. Because (SPOILER ALERT) there’s not. Edward is not the hero of this book at all. It’s still largely from his brother Lane’s POV. And what time we did spend with Edward frustrated me utterly. Because he seemed to be getting involved with two woman. He’s kissing and snuggling with one, having sex with another, and I just don’t want to read that.
I’m trying to be fair and judge the story not for what I thought it was supposed to be, but rather for what it really was. But based on the first book and based on the fact that JR Ward is the author, I think most people are going to expect the same things I did. They will be disappointed too.
What this book does do is focus on the death of the Bradford family patriarch and the mess he left behind. He bankrupted the company. He sired illegitimate children. He destroyed Edward. And pretty much no one mourns his death. But the family and the business must go on. The book follows Lane as he steps up in his growing role as head of the family, as he tries to track the money, and as he figures out how to save everyone he loves –and the Bradford legacy—from ruin.
We do get to spend some time with his siblings. The prodigal son Max returns, but it’s barely a cameo. As I mentioned, Edward gets some page time, but he left me frustrated and confused. And Gin returns to both fascinate and repulse me with her overwhelmingly self-destructive behaviors. I essentially liked no one.
I was interested in the story, because Ward can reel me in. But this is twice now she has let me down and left me wholly dissatisfied with one of her books. (Let’s not even talk about that BDB debacle.) I expect certain basic things from a romance author, not the least of which is romance… at least somewhere in there. It doesn’t have to be the A-plot. But it should be somewhere. Here, it’s just not.
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Angel’s Share
by JR Ward
Release Date: July 26, 2016