Narrator: Alexander Cendese
Length: 12 hrs 45 mins
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Published by Penguin on July 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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 think this book may have been my biggest surprise of the year. It is also probably going to be an uncommon opinion. Reading the synopsis and seeing the cover really didn’t make this book one I would pick up on my own. The one big attraction was that it was written by J.R. Ward. Ward writing in this genre really had my curiosity stoked. I did not go in with big expectations though. I am primarily a paranormal romance reader. A few contemporaries have snuck under my radar by my other favorite paranormal authors and I knew I had to give Ward a chance.
I got sucked into this story. As we see with the Black Dagger Brotherhood, we have a few threads going on, but the overall storyline pokes into those threads to bring them all together.
The Bourbon Kings focuses on one family that sort of rules the area. They are one of those families that you see in society pages. I actually kind of relate them to those reality shows like the Kardashians that people get sucked into, only worse. It’s like each family member has some secret they are trying to keep from getting out and protecting the family’s image.
The story does focus on one of the family’s “bad” guys, and all the other members discoveries and reactions. They also have the problems of their own lives to deal with. We have the romance brewing with Lane & Lizzie, and all the head games going on with Edward, along with all the craziness that is Gin. I think I was more fascinated in what was going on with the dramas of each siblings personal lives than the actual main problem for the family itself. We only get some resolution on Lane’s storyline, but I don’t think it’s over. There are openings that could come up. I was a little disappointed in how quickly Lizzie and Lane seemed to solve all their problems.
Edward & Gin’s storylines left off with some serious issues and I’m fascinated to see how they work out. I found Gin’s situation really dark and kind of violent in some ways that makes me worry for what is to come for her.
The Bourbon Kings was like a train wreck and I had a hard time tearing myself away at times. Their actions were just so outrageous and unbelievable. I found it hard to imagine people truly acting that way. I know it is fiction, but you can kind of feel that some families would act that way in the interest of keeping family secrets and respectability.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the upcoming stories. I’m hoping book two is going to be Gin’s. I’m conflicted on how I feel about her. I hope that people won’t be like I would have been and just passed the book over by reading the synopsis and looking at the cover. If you get as drawn into the lives of the rich and famous, even against your will like me, I think you will enjoy The Bourbon Kings.