Book Review

‘The Bourbon Kings’ by J. R. Ward

tbk jrwSTORY: For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

REVIEW: Charlemont, Kentucky – May

Easterly, the Bradford Family Estate is home to the owners of the Bradford Bourbon Company.  The Bradford family first settled in the area in 1778.  Their annual sales are around $3Billion with No. 15 being their best seller.

William Baldwine married Virginia Bradford, heiress to the Bradford estate and bourbon company.  They produced four children, Edward, Maxwell, Tulane (Lane) and Virginia (Gin).  William has ruled his children with an iron fist and they hate him.  Their mother retreated years ago to her bedroom where she spends her days medicated.  Edward was always a rule-minder and looked out for his siblings. Today, he is a broken man both in body and mind.  Maxwell lives away from the home.  Lane is married to Chantel, a greedy, ruthless woman whom he hates.  Lane has been away from Easterly for the better part of two years and has just returned.  Gin is unmarried and living at home.  She is also the mother of a teenage girl away at school.

The family and staff are preparing for the annual Charlemont Kentucky Derby party that will host hundreds of élite guests from the area.  It will be a garden party under a tent complete with the finest foods and top-shelf liquors.

Lizzie King, is the head gardener at Easterly.  She is much more than just a gardener. She has an advanced degree in horticulture and has worked there for a several years keeping the grounds and flowers in top notch shape.  At one time, she an Lane had a thing going.  Even though they have not seen one another since he left, Lizzie and Lane still have a instant spark that has never died.  Although Lizzie has told herself that she wants nothing more to do with Lane, can she resist the love they still have for one another?

As the party preparations get underway, we find that things at Easterly are not as perfect as they seem. Hidden secrets are being revealed and the monetary stability of the Company comes into question.

It has been quite some time since I’ve read a book to which I wanted to award six stars.  This is one of those books.  I have not read any of this author’s novels before, quite frankly because I don’t care for paranormal.  However, this new series is so different from her usual books and I cannot wait to read more.  I am now on a search to find when she will be publishing the next novel in this series.  My appetite has been whetted!

Connie for b2b


2 thoughts on “‘The Bourbon Kings’ by J. R. Ward”

  1. Connie, I’m not a fan of Paranormal Romances either, but I love J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. As you say, this series is something quite different and I think I’m adding this book to my wish-list.

  2. You should try her Jessica Bird romance novels. They’re quite good. I think they’ve been re-issued under her JR Ward name.

    The Bourbon Kings was worth reading, but it had quite a few flaws in it. The only main character with morals appears to be Edward. The father is an over-the-top villain and I thought Lizzie’s trust issues were problematic since Lane never cheated on her. I also found it difficult to believe that Lane would remain married to Chantal after learning what she did following the wedding. It didn’t make sense that he would spend two years living with a friend and not confronting the issue. Finally, Gin is an interesting character, but JR Ward is known for writing better male characters than females. In this book, the author has Gin agreeing to marry a man that just assaulted her. Gin may be headstrong and dysfunctional, but I didn’t like that the character was willing to overlook this crime for money. There are no shades of gray; the villains are totally evil.

    Even with this criticism, I’ll still read the next book in the series. I’m interested to see how some of the relationships work out.

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