Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward - Review

Title:  The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings #1)
Author: J. R. Ward
Source:  Borrowed from the Public Library
Genre: Fiction
Length: 420 pages
Publisher:  NAL
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Reviewed by: Artemis

Rating – 4 Stars
Heat – 3 Flames

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.

First the bad news:
--This is not a romance novel. It does not have a HEA - maybe a HFN.
--If you are expecting a BDB look-a-like wrapped in a contemporary setting, nope, not happening, not even close. The sex scenes are lame lacking, and the leading men are tame in comparison. 

Nevertheless, The Bourbon Kings is a damn good read! It kept me entertained and turning the pages. I felt the devilish J.R. Ewing on my shoulder the entire time. This is reminiscent of the shenanigans of the residents at the ranch at Southfork; only this time they are brewing bourbon in Kentucky.

Even though there are quite a few characters to weed though (all of that world building stuff), I didn't get lost trying to figure out who belonged where. Everyone has clear-cut personalities, and WOW - they are great getting to know. My favorite so far: Edward. His struggles give his character great strength to grow. My least favorite: Lizzie - bordering TSTL.

If you enjoyed the prime-time soap opera dramas of the 1970's, 80's, 90's; you are going to love this book. Ms. Ward alluded to a few of them, this is my favorite:
Heading off to the main road, she decided this had to be the result of her having contracted the flu and taken to her bed. Any moment she was going to wake up...
She was.
The Bourbon Kings has all of the elements for great television too. 

Yep, I'll be reading the next one!

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