A compelling and potent family saga filled with evocative characters as strong and flinty as the Appalachia hills … a smooth plot that goes down with an easy, clean finish.
-Tony Ray Morris, author of Deep River Blues
Brassy young women like Brigit McKinsey are courageously rising up all over America, especially in rural areas where they have traditionally been ignored, to not only survive families tortured by alcoholism and abuse but to triumph in their own right.
-Kaylie Jones, author of A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, inspiration for the Merchant Ivory film
Jennifer Jenkins' compelling novel American Bourbon traces the struggles of a Virginia family grappling with the legacy of old-school moonshining in the modern world. With sinuous prose, Jenkins has written a truly American novel, depicting a family caught in the trap of alcoholism, family secrets, and the search for love in the midst of pain and fear. The scars of this family are passed from generation to generation. The McKinsey children in Touraine, Virginia, are the inheritors of a moonshine empire from their dominating, alcoholic patriarch Caleb, who has never been able to come to terms with his own demons. The three McKinsey children try to cut their own paths out of the mountains. Brigit, the youngest, wants to take over and expand the family's Bourbon Sweet Tea distillery; Mack struggles with alcoholism and his dream of landscaping rather than moonshining; while Kieran, broken-hearted, has run away, leaving a hole in the family heart. When Caleb is on his death-bed, the children have to find a way to come together in spite of the anguish of alcohol in their blood. A deeply moving and realistic portrait of a bourbon-soaked American family, Jenkins' characters will make you laugh and cry and root for the triumph of love and kinship over fear, violence and booze.
- Taylor Polites, author of The Rebel Wife, an Oprah Magazine Top Ten Pick
American Bourbon: Chapter One excerpt published in CommuterLit.
"The Secret Door." Published in Up North Lit. Nominated for a PEN America Short Story Award.
"Hit Me." Essay forthcoming in the anthology Breaking Silence from MacFarland & Company.
"Lonny and Caleb." Excerpt from American Bourbon; honorable mention in Glimmer Train's Short Story Award, published in The Canopy Review.
Becoming by Michelle Obama; book review for Hippocampus Magazine.
"Dad's Nightgown." Nonfiction essay published in NonBinary Review.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara; book review for Hippocampus Magazine.
"Ambulance." Fiction; honorable mention in Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction Award, published in Parentheses Journal.
"Selling Yourself: The ABCs of Promotion." Craft paper published in The Write Life.
"New Jersey Special Olympics to Baseball Hall of Fame." published in the Wilkes Magazine.
"The government always underestimated the bullheaded moonshiners."