The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward – Dual Review & Giveaway
The Bourbon Kings
The Bourbon Kings #1
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
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.
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward is the 1st book in her new The Bourbon Kings series. When I heard that J.R. was planning a new contemporary romance series about a rich and powerful family in Kentucky, I was very excited. The Bourbon Kings was a delightful and intense family saga filled with secrets, scandals, murder, deceit, love and nasty villains. This book brought back so many memories of our favorite TV shows of the past…Dallas, Dynasty and Knots Landing.
The Bradford family are the elite in the Bourbon business, and we get to see their lives in the midst of power, betrayals, greed and sexual exploits. But most of all, we watch as things begin to fall apart for the rich and powerful Bradfords. The sins of the father will force the heirs to fight for their survival. I will say that the patriarch of this family was outright despicable, with no redeeming qualities. With a powerful and devious father, who would stoop to the lowest level to get what he wants, not caring who he hurts in his family, it is no wonder that the children were spoiled, or damaged.
The story revolved mostly around Lane, the playboy son, who has been away for almost two years, as he comes back home for a family emergency. Lane comes face to face with the women who he cannot forget. Lizzie King works at the Bradford mansion as the head horticulturist, and she dreads seeing Lane after all this time, knowing she cannot let herself fall for him again. The romance in this story belongs to Lane and Lizzie, as he tries to win her back. Edward is the oldest brother, and he is physically and emotionally damaged by a kidnapping years before. This was very emotional, as we watch his agony. Gin is their sister, and is somewhat spoiled, though she does love her brothers. Max is the other brother, whom we see early on, but then not again for the rest of the story.
There are some secondary characters who also play a big role, such as Chantal, Lane’s spoiled, snobbish, and nasty wife; Samuel, the lawyer friend who tries to help, and is Gin’s true love.
But the crux of the story is the dastardly deeds of the father, who could very well destroy them all. The consequences are staggering for the family, not to mention the many twists and turns that will affect all, no matter if it’s upstairs or downstairs.
I liked the romance of Lizzie and Lane, though I felt Lizzie was too quick to jump to conclusions, causing the romance to falter. I also loved Edward, and look forward to seeing him find a way to rise up again and move beyond his horrific past. This was a very good story, with a lot more to come. I can’t wait to find out what else is in store for the Bradfords, as J.R. Ward does leave us with a slight cliffhanger.
THE BOURBON KINGS is the first installment in J.R. Ward’s adult, contemporary, erotic romance series focusing on the uber rich Bradford/Baldwine family of Charlemont, Kentucky- a bourbon dynasty family whose beautiful façade hides many dark and dangerous secrets. This is Trulane (Lane) Bradford, and Easterly estate gardener Lizzie King’s storyline-a second chance at love for two people from opposite sides of the proverbial track.
Told from several third person perspectives THE BOURBON KINGS focuses on the Bradford family and the preparations for a lavish Kentucky Derby Day brunch but all does not go according to plan. With the return of Lane Bradford, Lizzie’s ordered life is thrown into turmoil when old feelings resurface about the man with whom she had fallen in love. As Lizzie prepares for the celebratory brunch, Lane begins to uncover a family secret that could all but destroy a two hundred year old legacy.
THE BOURBON KINGS introduces the Bradford family of siblings-the victim; the prodigal son; the family whore; and the absent child. Physically and emotionally damaged eldest brother Edward, once the heir apparent, hides in the face of betrayal and pain; spoiled sister Virginia whose own secrets are hidden beyond the walls of the family Estate; and the absent brother Max, of whom, we know nothing about. The family secrets are a dark and dangerous cesspool of abuse, lies, cheating and scandal, and no one in the family goes unscathed or untouched. Lane’s best friend Jeff comes in to help uncover the depth of financial ruin; and Chantal Bradford is an evil princess who has eyes on the ultimate prize. We are also introduced to Sutton Smythe whose love for the once beautiful and heroic Edward has never waivered in the face of unrequited feelings. A large number of Easterly Estate employees fear reprisal and punishment from the Bradford family patriarch-a man whose sins are more dangerous and darker than most.
JR Ward ‘s THE BOURBON KINGS is an escape into the lives of the rich and famous; the privileged; the spoiled; the judgmental side of the entitled few. There is a propensity for stereotyping the affluent, and with it comes the perceived notion of acceptable discrimination, snobbery and the designated rights granted to the wealthy and well-to-do. Dynasty meets Dallas meets The Bourbon Kings of Kentucky-JR Ward’s new series is the updated version of the 80’s late night serials we secretly loved to watch. Saying that, the romance took a backseat to the drama that engulfed the Bradford/Baldwine family. I am looking forward to Edward’s story as heartbreaking as it is going to be.
Because THE BOURBON KINGS is a detailed and elaborate, introductory storyline, the premise followed several intersecting plotlines that allowed the reader a sneak peak at future stories, romances, and the potential fall out of financial disaster and personal ruin. There is some major info dumping in this first installment. J.R. Ward’s style of writing is familiar with THE BOURBON KINGS of Charlemont, Kentucky.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.
J.R. and her publisher are graciously offering a hardcover copy of THE BOURBON KINGS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe
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9. Giveaway runs from July 28 to July 31, 2015