book review

A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner


I’ve developed a love for whiskey, and this story just made me crave it a little bit more. I almost poured myself a glass of Yamazaki to calm my nerves after reading the last line — a sort of ‘hair of the dog’ attempt, I guess, even though I know there’s really no dulling the effects of this book hangover.

Goodreads description:

It’s crazy how fast the buzz comes back after you’ve been sober for so long.

Whiskey stood there, on my doorstep, just like he had one year before. Except this time, there was no rain, no anger, no wedding invitation — it was just us.

It was just him — the old friend, the easy smile, the twisted solace wrapped in a glittering bottle.

It was just me — the alcoholic, pretending like I didn’t want to taste him, realizing too quickly that months of being clean didn’t make me crave him any less.

But we can’t start here.

No, to tell the story right, we need to go back.

Back to the beginning.

Back to the very first drop.

This is my love letter to Whiskey. I only hope he reads it.

Just reading that description made me want to drown myself completely in this story. So many possibilities were floating around in my head — this story is about an actual alcoholic. Or a boy named Whiskey. Or maybe just a boy with whiskey-colored eyes, which was actually close enough. I always have a basic prediction before diving into a new book, but nothing could have prepared me for how painfully beautiful this story was.

The beauty really lies in how well the author compares the main character’s tumultuous love affair to whiskey, beginning every chapter with a clever comparison to whiskey-related aspects – “Relapse”, “The First Taste”, “Barrel Aged”, “Aftertaste”, “Jack Daniels”, “One Night with Scotch”, and many more that lead up to the “12-Step Program” and ‘The Last Drop”. I was addicted to how on point she associated each chapter with the specific stage in the relationship she was in. For example, one of the chapter titles is called “The E in Whiskey”. In it, the main character mentions how the Scottish are the only ones who get away with spelling it as such because they believe that extra vowels are a waste of drinking time. This comes at a time when she was contemplating how pursuing her dream to be a book agent away from the boy she called Whiskey might be just that — wasting time. Heck, even the publishing company she pursued was aptly called Rye Publishing. Everything just ties in so well and so creatively. It’s been a while since I’ve read a story that’s so tightly woven into its theme. In fact, when I first heard about the format of the story, I thought it was going to be a little forced, but Kandi Steiner tells a story so effortlessly, that it just worked.

It’s a never-ending rollercoaster of emotions. Gut-wrenching and epic. You could put every single feeling you can think of in a line-up, but a detective could ask you which emotion came at you the hardest in this book, and my response would’ve thrown the case out. It felt like everything. It was overpowering. And I had to take a few days to come down from the buzz before I even thought about devouring another book. It felt heady and calming at the same time, and I wouldn’t mind getting lost in it over and over again.

Rating: 5 potent stars


3 thoughts on “A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner

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