I cried when I finished Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series. I loved the plot, felt like the characters were my very close friends and that like I was saying goodbye to the people and places I loved. Sure, Ms. Reisz would write other things, but would they be as captivating? After reading The Bourbon Thief her new, standalone novel, I can assure you the answer is an unqualified yes.
Cooper McQueen is rich, handsome, and incredibly powerful. He can have any woman he wants without trying at all hard. So when a stranger wearing a red dress enters his pub one evening, he’s sure she’ll succumb to his charms. What he doesn’t realize is that the woman, who calls herself Paris, has her own designs on Cooper, but not for the reasons he thinks.
After showing off his very valuable collection of bourbon, Cooper takes Paris to bed. They make love, and Cooper falls asleep, only to be awakened by something he can’t explain. It’s then he realizes that Paris has robbed him, stealing the only remaining bottle of Red Thread, a bottle of bourbon worth nearly a million dollars.
He confronts the unrepentant Paris, demanding to know why she stole from him. Paris very calmly informs him that the bottle actually belongs to her, the sole member of the Maddox family who created Red Thread shortly after the end of the Civil War. Over the course of the early morning hours, Paris shares the story of Red Thread with Cooper. It’s a story of family secrets, of greed and betrayal, of murder, rape, incest, and even slavery.
The story weaves back and forth between the present day and thirty-five years earlier, where readers are introduced to sixteen-year-old Tamara Maddox, a pampered Kentucky heiress who is forced to learn some very harsh lessons about what it really means to be a Maddox. Tamara is in love with Levy Shelby, her grandfather’s stablehand, but greed, lust, and dark secrets from her family’s past seem destined to keep them apart.
This is a dark story, but there are glimmers of light to be found in its pages as well. We see so much evil, but it’s tempered by love and selflessness. I cried tears of pain, but also tears of joy, as I lost myself in the pages of Ms. Reisz’s latest creation. I was sorry to reach the end, and found myself wishing for a sequel, even though it doesn’t seem that one is forthcoming.
Fans of Tiffany Reisz’s work are sure to enjoy this heart-wrenching novel, and those of you who have hesitated to read her works because of their rather explicit content, should definitely give this one a try. It lacks the BDSM elements found in her previous novels, but it contains the lush storytelling and memorable characters I have come to associate with her writing. This is a story I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Buy it on Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo
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