Published: July 28, 2015
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Print Arc
Rating: 5 Stars
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.
"You have always, and will always, matter most to me."
The Bourbon Kings was one hell of a ride. It's no surprise that the writing and storytelling were phenomenal. As sad as this is going to sound—it's my first time reading J.R. Ward. I know, I know, cue the tomatoes that need to be thrown at me. But before you do, know that I do have all of her Blackdagger Brotherhood books. I've started the first one right as soon as I finished The Bourbon Kings. As I've said about the writing, it's absolutely addicting. It's like her words beg you to keep reading them. I was only too happy to oblige.
Even though I read the synopsis, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into or what to expect. The story started off too slow for my tastes but never enough for me to want to put the book down. It's addicting, remember? Once the ball got rolling, it was on! I didn't and most importantly couldn't stop reading. Tulane Bradford and Lizzie King have a past and will come face to face after two years apart. Lane was dating Lizzie in secret when Lizzie heard through an announcement that Lane was getting married. Hence not seeing each other talking for two years.
But he's back. He'll finally come face to face with the love of his life, Lizzie. After everything that's happened, there's no way in hell that she could ever forgive him. Shes just starting to forgive him when she hears that he's coming back to his family's estate. The place where Lizzie has worked as the head gardener for the past ten years. It would be best avoided him at all costs but like a moth to a flame...
Easier said then done.
We are introduced to many more complex characters that kept me reading until the wee hours of the night. We have the Bradford siblings; Edward, Maxwell, Tulane, and Virginia. Their family friend and lawyer, Samuel T, Sutton, heiress to the competition in the bourbon business, and Shelby. All these characters have stories to tell. Are there too many? In my opinion, no. I really felt like all the story lines were like an addicting soap opera. You get to a point where you have to know what happens next. A storyline I look forward to reading more about is Samuel and Gin's. They have a hate/love relationship. And when I mean love/hate... From the little we did get of them, let's just say that it's going to be damn good.
There are many gasp-out loud moments, dark secrets, and scandals galore. Overall, I felt like I was in the story and will eagerly await for the next book. It's like the show Dallas, but in book form. If your looking for a book that has more than just your typical romance, then pick this one up. I'll just be sitting here waiting for the day that I can read more Bradford and company drama.
*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.