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.
This is the second Tiffany Reisz book I have read and I’m getting a little tired of her breaking my brain with the awful and awesome . . . . seriously!! Little. Tired. Of course, that tired bit could have something to do with the fact I was up until 3 a.m. reading, took a 3 and half hour nap and then finished the read a couple of hours later. . . . . Yeah, it’s that kind of good.
From the moment Paris, the seductive and sultry woman not the city, walks into Cooper McQueen’s life, he knows his night is on the upswing. When the morning comes, Cooper McQueen knows his life is never going to be the same. There are some stories a man just can’t unknow and Paris certainly knows how to tell a story.
From the very moment Paris begins her long and winding tale, Cooper is taken in. Paris begins her tale with generations back with a white slave owner raping and impregnating one of his slave girls. As the tale goes, the man’s wife ripped the red ribbon from the young girl’s hair as she and her unborn baby were sold. From this tragedy was born the Red Thread bourbon company and a family cursed because of their evil beginnings and continuous wrong doings. For generations to come, Red Thread bourbon led the industry in quality and taste and the Maddox family become among the most respected and wealthy in Kentucky society. While most believe the family to be the honest and upstanding citizens they appear to be, there is a dark truth behind the façade.
It isn’t for several generations that the dark truth of the Maddox family comes to light and topples what has become a state institution. What shocks Cooper perhaps more than any other part of the story is that the toppling comes at the hands of a teenage girl, Tamara Maddox. For the second half of the night, Paris tells Cooper all there is to know about young Tamara Maddox including her sordid history with her mother, her love affair with a ranch hand, the suicide of her father, and the truth behind her grandfather’s death. As the story unfolds and unfolds, and further unfolds Cooper is astounded at the horror perpetrated by a single family. He is shocked by the treachery, the betrayal, and the truly horrifying events that have marked the Maddox family. By the end of the night Cooper is left wanting more, more of Paris and more of the fascinating tale she has spent most of the night weaving. Alas, Cooper finds he may have to be satisfied only with what he has already been given, a tale of trials and tragedies shot through with only brief moments of happiness.
The Bottom Line: Yet again, Tiffany Reisz has made me her bitch! Page after page of awful, wretched, and truly terrible behavior didn’t stop me from flying through this read. In fact, the only reason I stopped reading at 3 a.m. was because I had to, I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. This isn’t just a tale but a saga, a long and tragic tale of a family built on blood, slavery, lies, and sexual misconduct. As unlikely as it seems, there is a hero and heroine in this story and from a very early stage of the read, it was easy to root for them and totally condone each and every act each commits. While I don’t normally condone criminal activity, some acts are completely justified and I found myself hoping for a bit more eye for an eye. On the technical side, Resiz has put together a tightly woven and beautifully written read that has few if any flaws. This is a dark read that doesn’t have many moments of bright and/or happy but don’t let that stop you from diving into this terribly tremendous read.