Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings #1) by J.R. Ward: ARC Review


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.

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About the Author:

J.R. Ward is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She lives in the South her family.

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Review by Michelle:

With enough scandal to choke a Derby horse, J.R. Ward's venture into the contemporary genre, The Bourbon Kings, is an ode to southern charm, reckless extravagance, dirty little secrets, and of course the supremely important Run for the Roses. This story reads like a prime time soap opera with enough drama, suspense, and deception to keep you mesmerized and chomping at the bit for more.

We follow multiple characters in the Bradford/Baldwine family though a multitude of plot lines while unearthing a whole boat load of dirty laundry making for a fast paced and spellbinding story. As with any drama worth a lick of salt, just when things are starting to get good on one front, we are thrown into the life of another character whose affairs are just as sensational as the last keeping you hooked and utterly incapable of putting this book down.

Ward's distinctive, imaginative, and exceptional way of describing even the most mundane thought or action is both entertaining and enthralling drawing you into this lavish world built on secrets, lies, and deceit. There is never a dull moment. Whereas the description of people and places in many stories can be tedious and bland, this narrative is remarkably vivid and witty. On more than one occasion you are sure to find yourself marveling at an unlikely or whimsical description, analogy, or metaphor while insatiably devouring each word and turning pages as quickly as humanly possible.

As is always the case with a J.R. Ward novel, each and every character is captivating and memorable. It is not only the vast array of main characters that grab and hold your attention, but the secondary characters are equally arresting. From the affluent Bradford family to what is considered the lowly help, each character evokes a strong reaction be it endearment, intrigue, distaste, or even abhorrence. As the skeletons from the closet of the heirs to the BBC throne begin to emerge, you can't help but to feel for each of these family members despite their sins, whether you want to or not. Readers will also inevitably fall in love with a few feisty employees, namely Lizzy and the incomparable Miss Aurora.

A bourbon empire on the brink of collapse, perpetually jockeying for position in the industry with a rival family, this story runs the gamut of manipulation and deceit. The Bourbon Kings is the perfect juicy drama wrapped up in mystery, sex, and romance. With so many different things going on in this one story, The Bourbon Kings, is one that you will want to read over and over again while counting the days until the next book is released.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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