Review: Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith

Whiskey and CharlieTitle: Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice in fiction.

Whiskey and Charlie might have come from the same family, but they’d tell you two completely different stories about growing up. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not – bold, daring, carefree – and Charlie blames his twin brother for always stealing the limelight, always getting everything, always pushing Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.

When they were just boys, the secret language they whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies connected them, in a way. The two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) became their code, their lifeline. But as the brothers grew up, they grew apart.

When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, Charlie can’t make sense of it. Who is he without Whiskey? As days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to consider that he may never get to say all the things he wants to say. A compelling and unforgettable novel about rivalry and redemption, Whiskey & Charlie is perfect for anyone whose family has ever been less than picture-perfect.


Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith is a bittersweet novel of redemption that is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced strained family relationships. It is an introspective and sometimes heartbreaking story of twin brothers, Whiskey and Charlie, who have drifted apart over the years. When Whiskey is severely injured in an accident, Charlie faces some very hard truths as he waits for Whiskey to emerge from his coma. Grief stricken at the thought that he might never reconcile with his brother, Charlie vacillates between hope and fear as months pass with little improvement in Whiskey’s condition.

Charlie has lived in the shadow of his more outgoing and friendly brother for most of his life. Popular and well-liked with plenty of confidence, Whiskey fearlessly met every challenge that came his way. Charlie never felt like he quite measured up and he eventually grew to resent Whiskey’s effortless successes. As he sits at Whiskey’s bedside, Charlie tries to pinpoint exactly when their relationship was irrevocably broken and in doing so, he comes to the stunning conclusion that he shoulders part of the blame for the rift between them.

While Charlie is a sympathetic character, he is also very frustrating and sometimes difficult to like. In childhood, Charlie was open and kind, but as his jealousy of Whiskey’s accomplishments grew, he gradually became defensive and guarded. As an adult, Charlie is closed off and protective in his relationships and his irrational fears make it impossible for him to make a permanent commitment. Charlie is incredibly judgmental and his unfair assessments lead to contentious relationships with much of his family. It is not until he is on the verge of losing the woman he loves that Charlie truly begins to heal.

The phonetic alphabet has special meaning to the brothers and Ms. Smith cleverly incorporates it into the story. Each chapter is named after one of the letters (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc) and these vignettes offer insight into the brothers’ complicated relationship. Past and present are seamlessly woven into an incredibly emotional journey of self discovery that is ultimately quite uplifting.

Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith is a thoroughly captivating novel that is poignant and moving. This beautifully written story offers a realistic peek into the mind of Charlie Ferns as he weathers the darkest days of his life. It is a truly unforgettable tale of hope and healing that will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned.


Filed under Annabel Smith, Contemporary, Fiction, Rated B+, Review, Sourcebooks Landmark, Whiskey and Charlie

3 Responses to Review: Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith

  1. Katherine

    I got teary-eyed just reading your review. This sounds like a book for the TBR pile.

  2. Timitra

    I’m intrigued…thanks Kathy