The Angels' Share
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The Angels' Share

Thomas Nelson / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

The Angels' Share, by James Markert

William McFee wants his father Barley to consider reviving the Old Sam Bourbon distillery and fill his family's aging house with barrels full of bourbon once again, since Prohibition has now ended. 

A drifter is recently buried near the distillery at Potter's Field. Miracles seem to come to those who once intereacted with deceased and those who stop to pray at his grave. William finds a connection between the tragic death of his younger brother and the mysterious drifter.

What secret does Barley have that could put his entire McFee family at risk?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0718090225
ISBN-13: 9780718090227

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Publisher's Description

Some believed he was the second coming of Christ.

William wasn’t so sure.

But when that drifter was buried next to the family distillery, everything changed.

Now that Prohibition has ended, what the townspeople of Twisted Tree, Kentucky, need most is the revival of the Old Sam Bourbon distillery. But William McFee knows it’ll take a miracle to convince his father, Barley, to once more fill his family’s aging house with barrels full of bourbon.

When a drifter recently buried near the distillery begins to draw crowds of pilgrims, the McFees are dubious. Yet miracles seem to come to those who once interacted with the deceased and to those now praying at his grave. As people descend on the town to visit the "Potter’s Field Christ," William seeks to find the connection between the tragic death of his younger brother and the mysterious drifter.

But as news spreads about the miracles at the potter’s field, the publicity threatens to bring the depth of Barley’s secret past to light and put the entire McFee family in jeopardy.

The Angels’ Share is a story of fathers and sons, of young romance, of revenge and redemption, and of the mystery of miracles.

Author Bio

James Markert lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville and won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which was later published as A White Wind Blew, a story of redemption in a 1929 tuberculosis sanatorium, where a faith-tested doctor uses music therapy to heal the patients. James is also a USPTA tennis pro, and has coached dozens of kids who’ve gone on to play college tennis in top conferences like the Big 10, the Big East, and the ACC. Learn more at jamesmarkert.com, Facebook: James Markert, Twitter: @JamesMarkert.

 

Editorial Reviews

“Folksy charm, an undercurrent of menace, and an aura of hope permeate this ultimately inspirational tale.”
'Mysterious, gritty and a bit mystical, Markert’s entertaining new novel inspires the question of “What if?” Many characters are nicely multilayered, providing a good balance of intrigue and realism. The fascinating glimpse into the process of distilling bourbon --- and the effect of the Prohibition on Kentucky and its bourbon families --- adds another layer to the story . . .'
“Distinguished by complex ideas and a foreboding tone, Markert’s (A White Wind Blew) enthralling novel captures a dark time and a people desperate for hope.”

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Displaying items 1-5 of 13
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  1. ADFehl
    Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Fun for Bourbon / Historical Fiction Enthusiasts!
    April 16, 2017
    ADFehl
    Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    It's post-Prohibition in Twisted Tree, Kentucky. William McFee, an aspiring journalist, is feeling a little stagnant with his writing lately and is just itching to get to work rebooting the McFee family's distillery business. William's father, Barley, doesn't exactly share his eldest son's level of enthusiasm, but still allows William to go forward with the reboot to see what might come of it. All William is certain of is that the family desperately needs a new, healthier direction to move toward.

    Barley is tough on William, referring to him as "a daisy" (a sentiment echoed by William's brother, Johnny) -- weak-natured, prone to panic attacks, preferring to read in the woods rather than hunt. But William doesn't exactly see his father as a role model. Quite the opposite, though he still holds out hope for his father to come around. Already emotionally strained with the difficulties that come along with raising William's physically disabled younger sister, Annie, Barley was left a shell of a man after the death of his son, Henry, from a car crash. Barley was driving the car with Henry as a passenger. Since that day, Barley has largely formed himself into a severely emotionally damaged alcoholic, hesitant to pull himself away from the safe space of his living room recliner. William is forced to watch as over time his parents slowly grow apart and his bonds with his siblings suffer cracks. It's not the life he wants for his family. Before long, just one seemingly insignificant act brings proves to be the impetus that brings about the new life William so desperately craves.

    Behind the family's distillery lies what's known as a "potter's field", a place where poor or homeless deceased with little or no family to claim them can be laid to rest. One such soul is brought to the McFee place. Shortly after the burial is completed, a band of twelve indigent people show up and set up nightly vigils around the plot, even squatting in a portion of the McFee's bourbon rackhouse. These travellers claim that they were followers of the man buried in that grave, a man known as Asher Keating, whom they believed may have actually been the second coming of Christ. William is skeptical. That is, until he sees that his sister Annie's legs seem to naturally free themselves of their crippled state with no immediate explanation. He then starts to suspect that this Asher Keating might have had a connection to the death of William's brother, Henry.

    Soon word travels of the site, bringing more and more people wanting to pray over the grave, needing a miracle. Keating gets dubbed the "Potter's Field Christ". One priest who visits the location even later claims he experienced stigmata upon returning to his church. Once the newspapers start writing of the wonders going on out at the McFee place, patriarch Barley starts to fear the media coverage will begin to swing light on the less noble, long buried secrets of the family's past. When Barley and William decide to team up and travel around to discover what the real story behind Asher Keating was, they discover that even he might have had secrets of his own. They hear plenty tales of Asher using only the laying of his hands on someone to heal depression, consumption (tuberculosis), even blindness. But then there are also accounts of Asher himself battling drug addiction, or even possibly being mentally unhinged or delusional. The McFee men aren't sure what to think, but they can't deny that the lives of so many seem to be changing for the better. It leaves the reader to ponder on the idea that it's not one's past that has to define a soul, only what their heart's true, pure intent is in the here and now. Mistakes of youth or demons of the mind don't have to add up to a life sentence of misery. Every new day presents an opportunity for a clean slate! A realization that comes to Barley almost too late in life, but even he makes his final moments count.

    Personally, I was so pumped to dive into this story. My fella and I travel around the South visiting distilleries as a mutual hobby of ours and I'm well acquainted with the area where this story takes place. Though the town of Twisted Tree itself is ficitonal, there is a brief shout-out given to the very real, very charming town of Bardstown, KY! A beautiful, quaint place to walk around, if you're ever in the area. So yes, right out the gate I would recommend this as a fun read for all the bourbon / whiskey connoisseurs out there.

    If you do not consider yourself such, your enjoyment of this story may depend on your sensitivity level as a reader. Though some scenes of violence are depicted, I didn't find much in the way of overtly graphic material in the novel. However, it does touch upon some sensitive topics such as alcoholism, rum-running (bootlegging booze), racism and the KKK, and dealings with the Irish Mob. If this kind of material is of concern to you, you may want to tread carefully and see how you do. Otherwise, The Angels' Share is a quite enjoyable piece of historical fiction with a unique theme that doesn't come up in a ton of novels -- the inner workings of the business of distilling spirits, even the buildings themselves! {I can tell you from experience, standing inside a rackroom, taking in that dusty quiet while you look up at towers of barrels brewing is truly an experience of wonder!} Author James Markert infuses a healthy dose of slang from the era, which gives the whole work a fun, authentic feel that helps immerse the reader into that post-Prohibition time period.

    I also highly recommend reading the author's historical note provided after the close of the novel. Seeing as how the novel is entitled The Angels' Share, I was curious if Markert would likewise mention the flip side of that, what is known as the Devil's Cut. While "angel's share" is explained within the story of the McFees, "devil's cut" is not worked into the novel itself, at least not in the traditional sense. Markert explains that there is a scene within the story that is inspired by the idea of the "devil's cut", but he puts his own unique spin on it. For readers interested in the true history behind the terms, he does provide that in this historical note, along with some notes on "The Golden Age" when, as he says, "there were more bourbon barrels aging in Kentucky than people." :-)

    FTC Disclaimer: In the case of this title, both TNZ Fiction Guild and BookLookBloggers kindly provided me with complimentary copies of this book with a request that I might check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.
  2. bookstoregal
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Not my kind of book.
    March 24, 2017
    bookstoregal
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This book is southern lit. I would not call it Christian. If you want to learn a lot about bourbon, this might just be the book for you, because that's what a lot of this book is about. It's set in the 1930s. WW1, and prohibition are over. The characters and story are pretty well written. However, there is unsavory language, violence, etc. Plus, it is one of those stories with a "miracle worker" and the question if he is from God/for real or not-not really my favorite kind of book.

    I was given this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
  3. Charity Andrews
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    aTransParentMom
    March 21, 2017
    Charity Andrews
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Angels' Share - eBook.
    As I read this book, I really struggled with some of the elements. Although it's published under a Christian publishing company, I was surprised to find that it is in no way a Christian book. I felt like it was really well written and held my attention, but I really couldn't get past how God was portrayed. It is obvious that the author doesn't know the same perfect, loving, good Jesus that I know and that made me really sad!

    I am giving it 4 stars because it was well written. It's a clean book with deep characters and a vivid look at life during and after the prohibition. I thought the author did a wonderful job with what he chose to write.

    I appreciate this read in exchange for my thoughts. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here's to many more!!
  4. Charity Andrews
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    aTransParentMom
    March 21, 2017
    Charity Andrews
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    As I read this book, I really struggled with some of the elements. Although it's published under a Christian publishing company, I was surprised to find that it is in no way a Christian book. I felt like it was really well written and held my attention, but I really couldn't get past how God was portrayed. It is obvious that the author doesn't know the same perfect, loving, good Jesus that I know and that made me really sad!

    I am giving it 4 stars because it was well written. It's a clean book with deep characters and a vivid look at life during and after the prohibition. I thought the author did a wonderful job with what he chose to write.

    I appreciate this read in exchange for my thoughts. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here's to many more!!
  5. tumcsec
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    post prohibition 1930s
    March 20, 2017
    tumcsec
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This was not a typical book that I would normally pick up and read on my own and it was a little hard to get into at first. But once I started reading, after a couple of chapters it drew me in. Prohibition was over, the depression had set in and there were homeless everywhere. Jobs were few and far between. The McFee's were faring pretty well because of the father's illegal activity during prohibition. They were all suffering the loss of the youngest brother, Henry age four, in an automobile accident. The McFee's lived in a house with a shut down distillery behind it that had been started by the grandfather, Sam. Next to the house was a potters field where poor and indigent members of society were buried. One night with numerous lantern lights dancing about like fireflies, the oldest son, William, witnesses a burial in the field from his upstairs window. The site begins to draw crowds of people because of rumors that this man was Christ returned or a prophet able to perform miracles before his death. Even after many come and pray over his grave. The father, Barley, is being sought after by a notorious criminal, who escaped prison. Having used a false name during dealings with this criminal he feels safer using his real name. He and son William begin searching for information on this so called "prophet" and why Henry's shoes were found among his belongings.

    Take a wild ride through all the dealings among the people of this imaginary town called Twisted Tree. Learn of gangsters and bootlegging and miracles that happen unexpectedly. The author has a history degree and has done much research on bourbon distillery that makes this story more interesting and gives it real life. I enjoy learning real history through fiction that brings me entertainment as well.

    I received this book through the Fiction Guild and was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise.
Displaying items 1-5 of 13
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