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Whiskey & Ribbons

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,626 ratings  ·  373 reviews
Set in contemporary Louisville, Leesa Cross-Smith’s mesmerizing first novel surrounding the death of a police officer is a requiem for marriage, friendship and family.

Evi—a classically-trained ballerina—was nine months pregnant when her husband Eamon was killed in the line of duty on a steamy morning in July. Now, it is winter, and Eamon's adopted brother Dalton has move

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 8th 2018 by Hub City Press (first published March 6th 2018)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  1,626 ratings  ·  373 reviews

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Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a gorgeous, warm love story that is also a story about friendship and family and faith. I couldn't put this book down and was rooting so hard for Dalton and Evi and Frances and Cassidy and Eamon. This is a multi-layered, romantic, sexy, sad story. Just one hell of a satisfying read and though, in many ways, this story begins at the end, there are many wonderful, poignant surprises to be found in this novel.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: mine
I HAVE INDEED READ THIS. AAAND I ALSO WROTE THIS. I feel v confident in my feelings for it. I started writing this book in 2000/2001 and have read it a thousand times and tbh I still love it. There is a blizzard (two ppl who love one another a lot are snowed in together which I LOVE) aaand some kissing (and lots) and hope. It's abt grief and healing and darkness and's abt friendship and brotherhood and families and who we are/can be to one another. It's abt holding on. It's romantic a ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Grief and memory are the key themes explored in this novel. Grief and love side by side. A short review because once again I probably was not the right reader for this. A simple story, boy meets girl, tragedy befalls, girl has child and best friend steps in to take care of them both. What was different are the secrets exposed between the best friend and husband, and the husband that haunts the story, speaking from the beyond.

Not a romance reader so was glad this story was not told in an emotiona
mindful.librarian ☀️
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(AUDIOBOOK) OH MY LORD THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE READ/LISTENED TO ALL YEAR!!! Okay, enough with the shouting, but for real. I listened to this one and it was FABULOUS. Absolutely fabulous. Heartbreaking and hopeful and sweet and spiritual and musical. I'm sure it's just as good on the page, but the narration was fabulous and definitely added to the story for me.
Read In Colour
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't drink whiskey, I drink rum and I savored the words and characters of Whiskey & Ribbons like a good bottle of my favorite. Can't wait for everyone to read it. ...more
Read By RodKelly
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a pretty lackluster read for me, and I only finished because I buddy-read it with bae.

The problem is that it's an incredibly cliche romance that wants to be literary and it just doesn't work. The characters lack depth and seem to all have the same voice. The drama is not impactful and doesn't really make sense in the overall structure of the novel. The interior monologues are repetitive to the point where I felt the need to skim all over the place.
I don’t think I can adequately express how much I loved this book, but I have to try! In her first novel, Leesa Cross-Smith proves just how much we needed her work. Whiskey & Ribbons is a devastating, intimate, lover’s knot of a book, and so far it’s my favorite of the year.

Without spoiling too much, this is the story of the Royce Family, namely Evangeline, Eamon, and Dalton Berkeley-Royce. When Eamon, a Louisville police sergeant, is killed during a house call, he leaves his wife Evangeline, th
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I found myself a bit stifled reading whiskey & ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith on a couple of fronts. Firstly, despite the third narrator already being dead (this is NOT a spoiler - his death is central to the whole narrative) the majority of the book takes place over a weekend storm in which two people are stuck together in a house and it is dramatic as hell up in there. Secondly, despite the book being an adult novel, and sex being a central topic, the intensity of it felt a bit young adult ficti ...more
Alisa (worldswithinpages)
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Are you someone who enjoys getting your heart ripped from your chest, stomped on, and then sobbing uncontrollably so you can’t read through the tears?


Okay, pick this book up then. 😂

Thank you to Hub City Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review and for ruining my mascara. 💕
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
At the risk of sounding cliché, the prose is poetic. Now that we have established that, let’s take a look at this story of family and grief. This is a difficult review to write because I don’t want to give away too much, but the central conflict of this novel is a deep moral quandary. I knew right away where I stood and so the reading for me was a search for how and why?

Grieving is a most difficult process and we often are driven to act in ways we normally would not absent the grieving process.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just....I just really loved this book. The way this author writes makes you want to savor every word. Not just read it, but read it, make sure you catch what she's saying, then think about how that sentence made you feel. Those type of authors are hard to come by. I have about 19 highlights in this book! This story follows Eamon, Dalton, and Evangeline. Eamon is killed in the line of duty leaving behind his wife Evangeline and their unborn child Noah. Dalton is his adopted brother. Evangeline ...more
Wilhelmina Jenkins
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my. I just finished this book and I am stunned. Talking about the plot of this book would not give a clue about how beautiful it is or how much I loved it. It is about brokenness and healing. It is about loss and grief. It is about families, secrets and flawed human beings. And it is about love, so many kinds of love, transcendent love. Just beautiful.
Monica **can't read fast enough**
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Monica **can't read fast enough** by: Kim
This is a sweetly painful story that revolves around the loss of a family's son/husband/brother. Cross-Smith does an excellent job putting her reader in the minds of the her three main characters and their complicated but deeply bonded relationships. I particularly enjoyed the way that Eamon's perspective is given voice as a central part of the story.

You can find me at:
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Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to get my hands on this early. What a delight. Evi loses her cop husband when he responds to a domestic dispute, just days before their son is due to be born. Everyone deals differently with grief, but is the relationship between Evi and her deceased husband's best friend a response to tragedy or the real deal? Look for my interview with Leesa Cross-Smith in The Rumpus in March.
Never Without a Book
Whiskey & Ribbons was written like a piece of classical music; smooth, rhythmic & beautiful. I completed this read a day ago & I can't get Evi, Eamon, and Dalton out of my head. I didn't want this read to end. This book provided just the right amount enough of grief, love, and family drama. I am still just gushing over this book. A must read ...more
Basic B's Guide
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
“I can hear it coming. Healing. The train tracks leading to my heart are warmed by it. I can put my hand there and feel it hot. It is rattling towards me. Rumbling. The buzzing sound of a flickering light at the end of the tunnel. A grief train rumbling away from us. A healing train coming our way.”

The hardest part for me after losing my Mom almost five short years ago was that the world didn’t stop. I needed time to heal without life “getting in the way”. How was I going to be a mother if I no
Megan C.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and I am still thinking about it. I loved it so much, and for so many different reasons-some personal, some literary-that I’m so afraid I’ll just ramble on and on incoherently and never be able to succinctly express my thoughts. I’m going to try to break it down below...without the incoherent rambling. :)

Plot & Pacing: At the most basic level, this is a story about a woman (and new mother) trying to figure out how to live and love after the death of her
Maggie (mugandnook)
If you’re wondering what I thought of Whiskey & Ribbons, I loved it. It was reeeaallllyyyy depressing though. I finished it with a heavy heart. It never brought me to tears, but it still weighed on me pretty much from the beginning to end. I came away from it in a really bad headspace, and I just needed some cheesy Dawson’s Creek and Thai food to snap out of it. (All good now.) Leesa Cross-Smith writes very artistically. She has a unique way with words that sometimes felt cozy, delicious, poetic ...more
Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle

I found myself wanting to read this book with a whiskey sour in my right hand, a cigarette in my left while listening to Alannah Myles sing Black Velvet.

🎼 Black velvet and that little boy smile
Black velvet and that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring you to your knees
Black velvet if you please. 🎼
{David Tyson & Christopher Ward}

The verse flowed slow & smokey and tart & sweet. I don't think I could have loved it more. Leesa Cross-Smith takes the reader through one of the most complex
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-tbr
If it were possible, I would rate 3.5 stars. Not too bad for a first novel. I think the author has a lot of talent and can definitely tell a story. However, something was holding me could be the story line..or I couldn’t connect with the least not Evi...not sure..can’t put my finger on it. I was not overwhelmed with joy on this one, but I would read another book by this author, she is super cool!
Kourtney • kourtneysbookshelf
Thank you to Hub City Press for providing me this free copy in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

'I can hear it coming.  Healing.' -Evangeline, Whiskey & Ribbons

I know, I know, I am late to the party on this one.  Leesa Cross-Smith's debut novel, Whiskey & Ribbons blew my mind.  I think my heart actually grew larger while reading this book.  Cross-Smith has a way with words that is a like a melody your soul cannot get enough of.  This is a poignant tale of love and loss, of
Jessica Woodbury
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color
It's an unusual combination to have a book with equal parts romance and grief, but it turns out it's not a bad combination. I loved Cross-Smith's voice and the way she was able to get me so deep in those feelings, and instead of being in conflict with each other, those emotions drew each other out more deeply.

This was 4-stars for me until about halfway through when the momentum slowed down. There had been direction and then it became more stagnant. I don't think this will impact a lot of readers
I have no idea how to rate this.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary-lit
This review originally appeared on the book review blog: Just One More Pa(i)ge.

I had really never heard of this book before seeing one of the main characters mentioned in a post on bookstagram. As always, I need to be better about writing these things down, because I totally don’t remember who made the original post, but the question was something about book boyfriends. And more than one person mentioned someone named Dalton. It wasn’t a name I recognized, so thankfully someone also listed the
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
“What no one tells you about grief is that you don’t want to figure out a way to live with it - you want the part of you that hurts to die instead.”

This is a story of grief, but it is also a story of healing, and it is written in a lyrical way that defies a lot of “literary rules” (in my opinion). It is told like a very personal conversation, a diary or confession to a lover. It’s raw, edgy, direct, sexy, and authentic to each of the character’s voices as you’re inside their most intimate though
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I do not give out 5 stars lightly- but this booked earned everyone
Cross-Smith nails the experience of being widowed at a young age (for me I was 34) with all the raw emotion and feeling that make this experience so difficult.
She weaves a story of loss and hope beautifully! Poignant, not morose.
One that will stick with me for a long time!
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Prepare to go slow. Prepare to meander through this novel. Take your time. Settle in like a snow day. Get comfy with tea and whiskey and good food and characters having conversations that sound just like yours. Get ready for delicious little word morsels and a perfect rendering of love, in all its manifestations. Know that when you're done, you'll miss living inside this novel. You'll want to go back.
Steve Karas
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading an earlier version of Leesa Cross-Smith’s Whiskey & Ribbons. I love this book, and Cross-Smith is one of my favorite authors. She’s the master at writing about relationships in a way that’s honest and respectful of their complexities. The master of the slow reveal, patiently peeling back layers, intimately exploring each emotion’s rise and fall.

Over a snowed-in weekend in Kentucky, the story centers around Evangline’s struggle to cope with the death of her husband,
Renée | Book Girl Magic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Go On Girl! Book...: * About the Book 9 11 Aug 04, 2019 06:05AM  
Go On Girl! Book...: About Leesa Cross-Smith 2 4 Apr 30, 2019 05:04PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please Add Award: IPPYS 3 23 Apr 14, 2019 03:26PM  
Black Coffee: May '18: Whiskey & Ribbons 39 91 Aug 02, 2018 06:34AM  

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Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of SO WE CAN GLOW, WHISKEY & RIBBONS, EVERY KISS A WAR, and the forthcoming novels THIS CLOSE TO OKAY and HALF-BLOWN ROSE from Grand Central Publishing. WHISKEY & RIBBONS won the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Gold Medal in Literary Fiction, was longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, ...more

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“Women, you are sleek and gorgeous. You hold us together, you’re the ribbons. We’re men. Dangerous only if you take us too seriously. We’re the whiskey. To whiskey and ribbons.” 2 likes
“What no one tells you about grief is that you don’t want to figure out a way to live with it—you want the part of you that hurts to die instead” 2 likes
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