I used to love doing book reports. I love reading. I love writing. And, when I was in school, a book report embraced both. When I was in college, I majored in English Literature, where I could read books and write reports to my heart's desire. While I've not stopped reading or writing, I haven't written a book report in three decades. I'm not even sure that I remember how to do it, so I'll do it like I do everything else: my way.
About a month ago I was in Louisville taking a tour of the Old Forester distillery. As I was wandering around the gift shop, a buddy of mine, James Knudsen, told me he just met an author in the store and that I should talk to her. I wandered over, introduced myself, and we started chatting. Her name is Carson McKenna and she recently finished a book called Misercordias. I asked her what it was about, and she explained it was Bourbon fiction and sort of a Hatfields v. McCoys story.
Bourbon fiction? Okay. I had no idea what that really meant. While there are certainly enough Bourbon fiction printed on the backside of many bottles, I knew this wasn't what Carson was talking about. I was certainly curious, and she offered to send me a copy of her book if, in exchange, I promised to write about it. She followed through on her promise, I read it, and now I'm fulfilling mine.
First of all, let me get this out of the way: This book was addicting as hell and I loved it.
It is set up just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and the two feuding distilling families. The Foleys are the absolute kings of fine Bourbon, and the Walshes with their own unique brand of Bourbon, are forced on neighboring properties, with the patriarch of the Foley family threatening to shoot any Walsh that crosses the property line. Forgetting a series of twists and turns in the plot (some of which will leave you scratching your head trying to keep up), there are two main characters: Blaise Foley and Pat Walsh.
Blaise is the face of Foley Bourbon and based upon Carson's description of her, she is just stunning - and I don't mean just physically. Far from perfect, she is playful, a definite tease but also smart as a whip. Pat is a happy-go-lucky, good looking Irish lad, but he also comes across as a frat boy.
What we do know very early on is that Blaise and Pat are engaged, and Pat is running away just before the wedding and doesn't want to be followed. But, we don't know why... and the why is what Misercordias is all about.
Before you wave this off as some romance novel, it is really anything but. It also isn't a chick book. There are a lot of adventures that involve cunning and scheming, plus some downright hilarious parts that will have you laughing out loud. You spend much of the time wondering if Blaise is a femme fatale or just a mischevious tomboy. One word of warning: If you want stories to have a nice, neat and tidy ending, Misercordias is not the book for you. I won't ruin it except to tell you it ends on a cliff-hanger. Carson informed me that her second book, Domini, should be ready in about six months and will continue the story.
Carson's storytelling is very enjoyable. It is captivating, the words flow easily and there's nothing written that a layperson can't easily understand. She goes into enough character depth and has you think-speaking Irish brogue whenever the Walshes are speaking together even though only some of the elders speak with it.
I did find minor editorial and technical errors in this 400-page book, but they're few and far between. The English major in me wasn't turned off, and neither was the whiskey reviewer. I know that no matter how many times you read and re-read your own stuff, it is impossible to be perfect every time.
Miscordias is available on Amazon either as an e-book for $6.99 or paperback for $15.99. Go buy this book. I promise you'll love it. I'm anxiously awaiting the next chapter myself. Cheers!