Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Lizzie King is a gardener at the colossal estate, Easterly, own by the esteemed Bradford family from Kentucky.  The Bradford family owns one of my most popular bourbon distilleries in the US.  Lizzie loves her job, but when Lane Bradford returns to Easterly, she starts to get a bit anxious. You see, Lane and Lizzie had a hot and heavy affair two years ago and it didn't end well. In fact, her heart is still broken and she can't help but remind herself that she is "hired help" and not a potential girlfriend for Lane.  Lane is dealing with his own issues. He has been hiding out in New York City away from his crazy family life.  His father is abusive, his mother is sick,  and his siblings have more issues than Vogue.  Plus, Lane is married and hasn't seen his "wife" in a long time, which is fine by him, because their relationship is a sham and he plans to end it officially. When home, sparks ignite again between Lane and Lizzie, but there are more pressing issues.  Lane's father is hiding some major secrets. Secrets that could destroy the family.  J.R. Ward's soap-opera-ish tale, The Bourbon Kings, is simply so, so, so much fun; I was immediately hooked and loved the wild ride.

Lizzie is the type of character that I like in The Bourbon Kings. I could understand where she was coming from and while I didn't always agree with her decisions, I get her attraction to Lane.  But man, the course of true love never did run smooth, right? Welp, that goes for Lizzie and Lane as well. Once you think maybe, just maybe, they have another chance, the other shoe drops and disaster is looming. I actually liked these two together once I figured out exactly why Lane skipped town and why he is married.

Lane is a fantastic protagonist in The Bourbon Kings. He's the type of hot male lead that you like in a TV show....the good looking bad boy who breaks hearts left and right, but has a deeper side that not many get to see.  I imagined he was living the high life in New York while was away from his family, but that wasn't the case.  The more time Lane stays at Easterly, the more he discovers about what his family has been up to while he was gone.  Things come to head when he confronts his father and boy, it gets good, especially when he asks for help from his older brother who has also left the family business. Can you say scandal?

Oh, the drama in The Bourbon Kings. It was like watching my favorite episodes of Dallas, which, if you know me, is a compliment. You know when you are in the mood for a good soap-opera and you don't care if sometimes it's a tad unbelievable or melodramatic? Well, that's the case here with The Bourbon Kings. I didn't mind all the fluff, because Ward brought it with her storytelling. It was addicting in the same way that my favorite TV shows are.  So, if you are looking to be entertained and you love all the family drama, romance, secrets, and scandals, definitely give this series a try.  I, for one, am excited to start book two soon.


  1. Hmm. Kind of reminds me of the whole Jane/Rafael drama on Jane the Virgin. Over the top at times but also addicting. I may have to check this out. I thought she only wrote paranormal romance! Thanks for sharing your review.

    1. Yes! Very much so! I am not familiar with her paranormal romance, but apparently it's very popular! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. Great writer Ms. Ward is she pulls you in and has you gripping the book hoping it won't end. But as with any book they do end, and I look forward to what she has to offer next in this trilogy.

    Gretta Hewson
    Mesothelioma Lawyers Port Arthur

    1. Me too! I am a fan now! Thanks for dropping by, Gretta.


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