Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Publication Date: 7/28/2015

Series: The Bourbon Kings #1

Rating: 5 Stars

Official Blurb:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... 

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.

I had no idea what to think when I picked up this book from the local library. There are so many mixed reviews and opinions about J.R. Ward’s latest adventure and step to the contemporary romance side.  As a lover of her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I knew I had to give this book a shot, but after seeing the early reviews, I was a little bit worrisome about what I would find between its cover.  There isn’t a single book where there will be a solid love or hate response so I shook off my trepidations about reading it and dove in.

The Bourbon Kings follows a very wealthy family who are long standing leaders in the Bourbon making industry.  That’s different, right?  Ward has always had a knack for writing novels with a huge cast of characters and this book is no different.  Each family member has issues and troubles of their own and most of them include extended family members or friends of the family.  To me, Bourbon Kings is like a mini-series neatly typed out in a book.  Think Gone with the Wind or North and South, for example.  Yet, with Bourbon Kings there is this underlying mystery and darkness to the family.  So many things have happened in their past that you’ll find yourself griping your heart and eyeing a shotgun to take care of a few of the Bradford family members.

Bourbon Kings is a completely different animal of a novel and series for Ward and I frankly loved it. The story is engaging and yet so diverse that I never know which family member to root for.  Lane and his sister are by far my favorite characters with their dark souls seeking redemption from those they’ve spurned in the past.  While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was for me!

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