Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

July 29, 2017 Book Reviews 1

by J.R. Ward
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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.


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Life for members of the Baldwine family is a series of ups, downs, and manipulations. For Lane, Gin, Edward, and Max – the outward appearances of their family don’t reveal the torment that goes on behind the doors of their empire. Bourbon fuels the legacy of this tattered family. With that slick concoction comes a torrential fissure in the bones of what should be their future. A dynasty that should provide for them for a lifetime. Like all families…..the Baldwine’s legacy is full of secrets just threatening to run rampant.

The Baldwine estate has been a focal in Lizzy’s life for quite some time. As the horticulturist on the grounds, Lizzy knows a lot of the behind the scenes at the family home. When she dips her toes into the world of the Baldwine’s on a personal level, life gets complicated. That complication came in the form of Lane. The one man that turned Lizzy’s life upside down and wrecked her in the aftermath.

It’s been two very long years since Lane has stepped foot on the grounds of his family property. Time that Lizzy has used to try and heal from the broken heart she was left with at Lane’s departure. Now that Lane is back in town, all the progress Lizzy thought she made in ’getting over’ Lane just flew out the door. In spite of everything that Lizzy feels for the Baldwine heir, she can’t control the fire that Lane ignites whenever he is near.

Lizzy had better get prepared. Lane is back and is making it his mission to win back her heart. That might be a little harder than either could predict when Lane is clearly MARRIED!! A whirlwind of secrets slowly makes their life a little harder. Those revelations affect each member of the Baldwine family in ways that none of them could imagine. The only question is who will be standing when the bourbon no longer flows??

What an interesting start to another JR Ward series!! Greed, secrets, power and money fuel the legacy for the Balwine siblings. Now their legacy is threatened in ways none of the siblings could have imagined. Their bourbon empire is shattered to the very core. Where will the trail of betrayal lead now that Lane is uncovering the depth of their father’s betrayal.

Let me say that this is quite an intriguing plot enveloped within the pages of The Bourbon Kings!! However – there is so much going on in this first book of the series. Some readers will be put off with the tons of information and connections that must be kept straight in order to understand everything that is brewing behind the scenes. I know my head was reeling with all of the different plots running simultaneously!!

One of the biggest drawbacks to this book was the editing. A hodgepodge of spelling mistakes and other errors pulled my attention away from the story. It is becoming more and more common to see a JR Ward book full of editing mistakes. Which makes me wonder why a large publishing house is not taking the time to properly scan the book for these overwhelming errors???? As much as people pay for the book….there should be few, if any, errors when it hits shelves.

A word of advice, you cannot read The Bourbon Kings if you are easily distracted and understand all the nuances of the story. There is that much going on within the covers. However – I found myself absorbed in each chapter, and cannot wait to see how thing unfold within this bourbon empire. Is the empire that the Baldwine siblings have reaped the reward from folding? Can the siblings get to the bottom of a murder and other secrets that threaten everything that they hold dear? Only time will tell….




About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is the author of over twenty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than 15 million copies of Ward’s novels in print worldwide and they have been published in 25 different countries around the world.

After graduating from law school, Ward began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

One Response to “Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward”

  1. lodilaurie

    I enjoyed your review & agree that the novel needs your full attention. However, I listened to it on Audible & was not distracted by the editing errors, but was put off a bit by the narrator’s vocalization of the female characters. The females sounded a bit too contrived. Overall – I will definitely read/listen to the next book in this series. ❤️

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