Devil’s Cut is without doubt my favorite of the Bourbon Kings series. I’ve struggled with the previous two books, mainly because of how long and drawn out the story is, but everything finally comes together in this masterpiece of an ending. I loved every part of this conclusion – there was never a dull moment, and I actually liked the characters by the end. For those of you who have been eagerly waiting to see just how the Baldwine children and their glorious fortune, estate, and company end up, along with who gets together with who (like I did), then you absolutely must read this epic finale!
Picking up right where The Angels’ Share left off, the death of William Baldwine, former CEO of Bradford Bourbon Company and father of Edward (the eldest), Max (the black sheep), Lane (the reformed playboy), and Gin (the only daughter), has been changed from being one of suicide to one of murder. Edward Baldwine confesses to killing his father, the man who hated his existence from the moment he was born and had his son kidnapped, tortured, and almost killed. Edward certainly had motive to kill William, right? But with secrets slowly being revealed and revelations being uncovered, it remains uncertain if Edward was the killer. And if he’s not, who is he protecting?
I don’t want to mention much about Edward and his love, Sutton, because spoilers, but I do want to say how much I adore their Romeo-and-Juliet-esque love story. As the heads of rival bourbon-making companies, theirs was a star-crossed love that could have been… but Edward returned from his almost-death broken. Now, with him in jail, is it possible for these two star-crossed lovers to have their HEA?
Lane has stepped up in his role of being the head of the Bradford household, trying to keep his family together and regain back their assets that his father embezzled away. With his momma, Miss Aurora, in the hospital dying of cancer, one brother in jail, an almost ex-wife pregnant with his dead father’s child, and virtually no money to support the estate, Lane is at the end of his rope. The one constant in his life is Lizzie, Easterly’s horticulturalist, the love of his life, who is sick of all the drama but there to support him no matter what. I was so thankful for Lane and Lizzie – they’ve been a constant for each other and for the series. I could always count on them to NOT create any drama between themselves, unlike all the other couples in the series. I love Lane and Lizzie so much!
Gin has married the abusive Richard Pford – but she’s no longer the dramatic, conniving, manipulate woman she was in the beginning of the series. With the loss of the Bradford fortune, she’s at a loss – is she anything without her money? She too, steps up to the plate by cutting out the drama with Samuel T., the love of her life. She will always love him, but her daughter, their daughter, comes first for her now. She endures Richard’s abuse so that she can provide Amelia with a better childhood than she had up until that point. I ended up completely loving Gin and the transformation she experiences throughout the series. I was rooting for her with not only Samuel T., but also her daughter. Their relationship is definitely the most addictive for me and was one of the main reasons why I kept reading these books.
With Edward in jail and the black sheep of the family back in town, there seems like no end to the mess that is the Baldwine childrens’ lives. I kept thinking, will any of them ever get a happy ending? But if there’s one thing I learned, it’s that I should always trust J.R. Ward because she’ll always do right by the end. The conclusion to the series was exactly what I was hoping for – we get a solid finish for every one of the characters and couples (well, most couples). I do admit I had to skim some parts that seemed to drag, but otherwise, I enjoyed this book immensely. I almost wish we could see more into the Balwine’s lives, but I wouldn’t want to ruin the perfect ending!