The Bourbon Kings

J.R. Ward
The Bourbon Kings
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Release Date
July 2015
Contemporary 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.

Book Review by Vixhen (reviewer)
Oct 10, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
106 people found the following review helpful
This a story about a girl named Lizzie King, who's a master horticulturist for one of Kentucky's richest families. She spends her days toiling about the massive grounds and gardens of Easterly. One as talented and educated as she surely has other aspirations. Right? Enter Tulane "Lane" Bradford, the rich, enigmatic heir of one of the biggest bourbon families in all of Charlemont, KY. Apparently, he and Lizzie had been an item back in the day, but as one knows, the rich don't marry the help. Finding himself saddled to a wife he had no feelings for and after Lizzie left him twisting in the wind, Lane runs off to New York where he had remained until he was called home.

As one would expect, Lizzie and Lane's feelings are still simmering as years and distance haven't made them less attracted to one another. Though Lizzie tells herself she's done, we all know it's only a matter of time before she's making eyes at Lane again. Lane decides that he not only wants Lizzie back in his life and his bed, but he also wants to rid himself of his wife and everything connected to Easterly. Well, as luck would have it, things don't go as planned, and we're left to wonder if Lizzie and Lane will ever find their happily-ever-after.

This book reminded me of Dallas. Yes, Dallas, the 80's nighttime soap that was so popular it had the entire country wondering who shot a certain character. I kept wondering why an author who gave us the wonderful world of Caldwell, NY and those intense, vampire brethren, would produce something that amounted to a mediocre soap opera. At times, I felt like I'd stumbled into the middle of a high school play. The plot wasn't original. The characters were irritating, privileged and totally unlikable. And though I'm not sure if this is how the Southern super-rich still behave, I felt like I was stuck in a time warp.

As a former hard-core fan of J.R. Ward, I had really hoped this book would change my opinions of her work of the last five years or so. However, that didn't happen. She is still a world-building genius, but she continues to throw character after character at her readers without giving us time to get to know them. THE BOURBON KINGS had so many side stories and characters that I lost track, and half way through the book, I found that I just didn't care. Sorry to say but this series will not be on my automatic purchase list.
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