Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “You tell me who who was the sinner and who was the saint[…] who was poor… and who died richer beyond measure.”
The Baldwines has suffered a great deal for their legacy but there is more to come as they deal with the fallout from their patriarch’s death, a son’s confession, and the barbarians who are circling the gate.
Devil’s Cut is the third and final installment in J.R Ward’s amusingly melodramatic and heartfelt Southern family saga-The Bourbon Kings. Once again, Ward gives us hints to the path her story will follow in her titles. The Devil’s Cut-another whiskey maker’s term-refers to a portion of the liquor that is absorbed into the barrel. When that barrel is repurposed, the ‘devil’s cut’ will leach into the new liquor being stored. The notion here is that that the old can be combined with the new to create something far better.
Picking up where Angel’s Share left off, we know that Lane Baldwine, the perpetual playboy, was forced to step up to the plate and take control of the family affairs when he learns his father’s death was not suicide but murder and Edward’s in jail having confessed. Max, the black sheep of the family, has returned for the funeral, and Gin has married a man who will supposedly will save their bourbon company though his price is high. Chantal, Lane’s soon to be ex-wife, is carrying Lane’s father’s child and looking to ensure she and her child get a large share of the Baldwine pie while Miss Aurora, the Baldwine’s beloved housekeeper and pseudo mother, lays dying in the hospital. With the estate broke and the company on the verge of bankruptcy, Lane feels like he’s repeatedly hit rock bottom though life has never been so good now that he finally has his beloved Lizzie back by his side.
Written with a bold dramatic flair in both narrative and plot, Ward takes us on the final journey into this well bred and completely dysfunctional family. The creme de la creme of the Kentucky social registry and among Bourbon makers worldwide, the Baldwine’s were the pinnacle of social and economic success…that is until their foundation began to crumble and the festering rot below gushed out. Poised on the brink of social, financial, and personal destruction. The Baldwines will do whatever it takes to save themselves and the home they love.
Ward continues to flame our emotions and heighten the anticipation as she slowly reveals the secrets of this family has spent years hiding. Multiple plots lines run in all directions, reminding us just how complicated family truly is. The steady pace and solid baseline help to merge the energetic cast of characters with the dramatic storyline playing out. Each member of this family has grown from the devious backstabbing souls we met in the beginning to a strong family who has united together in order to survive. They have walked through the flames and emerged with a sense of their own value and self-worth through. I applaud Ward’s patience and fine tuning when she finally allowed us to see her final creations as she wrapped up the loose threads and answered all our questions.
Devil’s Cut is a deliciously emotional ending to this family saga and further highlights Ward’s ability to successful cross genre lines.