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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.


BOOK REVIEW: The Bourbon Kings

J.R. Ward

BOOK SERIES: 

RATING:

“You’re the love of my life, whether you’re with me or not.”

I have the biggest book hangover ever. I am literally struggling to find things to occupy my mind with just so I wouldn’t go back to re-read this fabulous, oh-so addictive, sinfully moreish book, because at the end of the day, no matter how many times I flip those last few pages, no new ones are going to appear. The first instalment in The Bourbon Kings saga, this is the devastatingly compelling story of a very prestigious Southern family from Kentucky—the Bradfords—and it follows the four Bradford siblings and all the scandals and heartbreak entailed upon them by being born into such wealth and privilege. The best way I can describe the feeling of reading a book such as this would be to say that if Dynasty and Downton Abbey had a baby, this would be it! I am telling you, this book will ruin you, break you, steal your breath away so many times, you’ll be breathing into a paper bag by the end of it, and once you recover, you’ll be begging for more more more!!

“I was almost over you, Lane. I was getting my breath back, my life back.”

While the story as a whole is comprised of a number of intertwined subplots as we get to hear several distinct voices belonging to each Bradford son or daughter, as well as their romantic interests, this book in a way belongs to the youngest Bradford child—Jonathan “Lane” Tulane Baldwine—and the woman he lost two years before but never got over—Lizzie King. Lane has been wasting his life away for two long years, hiding from the world in New York City and spending his days either drinking or playing poker, but the ill health of the only quasi-parent he’s ever loved suddenly brings the prodigal son back home, to a house he never wanted to see again, forcing him to face the woman he cannot stop thinking about.

“The one man she never wanted to see again . . . was going to come home.”

Lizzie has been working at the Bradford Family Estate for ten years, working her way up to become one of their most valuable employees. Independent, diligent, proud of her hard work and determined to make it on her own in life—nothing prepares her for the return of the youngest Bradford son, her body betraying her from the moment they lay eyes on each other again, but two years of separation have not even dimmed her heartbreak or the sting of his betrayal. Lane, however, is a changed man, unwilling to let the love of his life slip through his fingers once again, and prepared to do whatever it takes to convince her to trust him again.

“I’m prepared to be a very patient man when it comes to you. I will seduce you for however long it takes—give you space if you need it or follow you tight as sunshine on your shoulder if you’ll let me. I lost my chance with you once, Lizzie King—that is not going to happen again.”

Lane is not the only Bradford we get to fall in love with in this book, his sister Gin’s and older brother Edward’s storylines being even more captivating and intense at times. Virginia “Gin” Baldwine, is a woman who lost her self-respect a long time ago, a woman who feels deeply and hates herself for all her downfalls, and yet for all those around her she maintains an air of pride, perfection, superiority, and complete emotional detachment. Spoiled by a lifetime of depraved luxury and blessed with good genes, Gin is used to getting her way in everything, especially the men she sleeps with, but ever since she was a teenager, she has loved one man and one man alone—the only man she can never have. For almost two decades, she has played a torturous and unhealthy cat-and-mouse game with Samuel Theodore Lodge III—Samuel T. to his friends—a successful attorney and old family friend, always one-upping each other with their sexual conquests while maintaining a very casual friends-with-benefits arrangement between them. But when two very headstrong people play a cruel game with each other for too long, they eventually end up forgetting why they started playing it in the first place, possibly losing the only chance they get at finding their happily-ever-after.

“To sacrifice her body at the altar of money? Fine. She would do what she had to.”

And then there is Edward Baldwine, the eldest son and heir apparent to the Bradford ‘throne’, a man whose broken body coupled with a lifetime of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father have forced him to leave his old life behind, and become a recluse who spends his days training horses and his nights drowning himself in self-pity and alcohol. But even as a shadow of his old self, his heart continues to ache for Sutton Smythe, the daughter of the Bradfords’ biggest competitor and Edward’s best friend since childhood, a woman he never claimed when he had a chance to but secretly loved all his life.

“You must know that I fell in love with you a long time ago. You must know it. How could you not? I’ve been following you around for years— is that why you hate me?”

While he fall head over heels with each Bradford sibling and the people they are destined to love forever, we also see them facing one common problem, a monumental setback that would change all their lives collectively and would require them to either join forces…or watch reality as they know it disappear in a puff of smoke.

A sinfully addictive telenovela-esque collection of jaw-dropping twists and turns, secrets and lies, set against a very enthralling backdrop of Southern wealth and privilege, I never wanted this book to end. Ever. I loved all the main characters, felt heartbroken over all their storylines, and cannot wait to see where the series takes us. In the meantime, I’ll be the one rocking in a corner, begging the universe to make the wait for the next book as short as possible.

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“This is . . . your time, Lane. God has provided you with a sacred duty to keep this family together. You are the only one who can do it. This is all falling into place because it is your destiny to bind the blood once again. It happens every couple of generations. It’s happening now. This is your time.”

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252 Comments Hide Comments

You continue to blow me away with your reviews. I’ve added many books to my growing tbr pile because after reading your review I HAD to buy it immediately.

I can’t wait to read this book just based on your review alone! I haven’t even read the blurb.. I think I have said it before, you have a magical way with words Natasha <3

Believe it or not, I’ve never real any of J R Ward’s books. This one sounds amazing! It would be lovely to win a free copy!! Thanks for a chance!

Would love to win a copy, never read JR Ward but heard so many good things and your review has me intrigued now :)

I can not wait to read this! I’ve thought about this back for the past couple of weeks and your review sealed the deal for me!

I have not yet read a J.R. Ward book. I know, I know. I’m crazy. This book sounds great. Your review drew me in, and I can see how taken you were with this story. Thanks for the giveaway chance! I would love to check it out. Is this part of a series or can I read it before any other J.R. Ward books?

I would love to have the hardcover copy of The Bourbon Kings. ( the price is definitely a problem for me ) I love the synopsis & your review.

Excellent review, as always, Natasha! When I first read the synopsis of The Bourbon Kings, I automatically wanted to read it and had put it on my TBR list. With your review and raves about the book, it made me run out and went searching for the actual physical copy of the book in my little city. The way you described the book made it feel like a soap opera I never want to turn off. It made me want to know every single character in detail and wishing and hoping there will an HEA for this family. Thank you and REALLY looking forward to reading this!!!!

I love JR Ward, but I wasn’t so sure about this book.
After reading your review, I’ll definitely put it on the top of my TBR list…

I have been dying to read this books. You have been posting alot about it and I really want to read it. I was want it! Thanks for the chance!

I LOVE this review sooo much! I’ve read and re-read it (here and at the Amazon link) too many times. This books sounds EPIC! It’s on my Amazon wish list right now.

I love love your reviews you are a total rock stat can’t wait to flip the pages of this awesome book love love JR Ward

I’ve added it to my TBR list for AFTER the price drop to paperback, because I sure can’t afford this price!

This has got to be your best review to date. I have already read it 5 times and it keeps pulling my in. I think this needs to be the book that pops my JR Ward cherry!!!

Thank you for such a wonderful review! I haven’t ready any JR Ward, but I think I know where I’m gonna start.

Great review Natasha. I can’t wait to read this one, I know I will fall just as hard for all the Characters as much as you did…I’ve already fallen for Lizzie and Lane, just from reading your review, I ship them already *lol*

Wow, you sure know how to write an excellent review! This one just wants to make you drop everything and read this book. :)

I always love reading your reviews! This one is no different. I cannot wait to read this book! Thank you for being you :)

AS ALWAYS, AMAZING REVIEW! I found your blog before I found anyone elses, and I don’t know how I stumbled on it but I am so glad I did, because you have introduced me to so many 6-star books! Can’t wait to read this! :)

Oh good Lord you’ve given it 6 stars and reading your review has me drooling now, I have to read this!! Even if I have to give up my Starbucks treat for a few weeks to afford it :) Thank you, Natasha!! It will actually be my first J.R. Ward book, although I have all the others but just haven’t read them yet.

Amazing Review! I really need to read this book! 6 star review, there is no way I’m passing this book up. Thank you!

I love your review! I’ve been waiting on this book for what seems like forever, but you just made me more excited!

This book looks incredible and your review makes me want to read it yesterday so I would love to win a copy. Funds are low right now so I’m limiting my Amazon purchases.

I must admit I’m not really a soap opera fan but I’m intrigued by this book and want to see if it invokes the same emotions in me…thanks Natasha for sharing your thoughts!

Awesome review. I’m thinking this will be my first JR Ward book. I’d love to win and hope I do. Thanks for the opportunity

I have been anticipating the release of this book for awhile…but your review has tipped me over the edge. So excited!

I was a little leery of trying this one because I love her paranormal ones so much. Being a 6 star review makes me a more apt to try it.

Sounds awesome!!!! I haven’t read any of her books yet. Yes, I know. I am the only one.
Excellent review.

I love your reviews! It’s almost like reading a novella about a novel. Love the way you write! J.R. Ward is amazing!

These are the types of reviews that make me ignore the cost of a book and click it anyway!!!! Eeek! So excited.

If J.R. wrote it, I’m anxious to read it. AND then to see a 6 star rating from you. Well, this one is tops on my Amazon wishlist.

Wow.. Just reading this gave me goosebumps. I seriously can’t wait to be able afford to get this. Hurry up August 7!

This book sounds quite intriguing and I have enjoyed other books by this author. Sounds like I’ll be adding it to my TBR list.

The quotes you posted from the book had my heart skipping a beat and you followed the quotes with a little bit of mystery leaving me wanting this book even m. It’s at the top of my tbr list!!! Such a great review. Why oh why did I read it? :)

This was an amazing review! I wasn’t sure about this one, but after reading your review I know I’m definitely going to read it now! :)

I love the excitement I feel when YOU truly love a book. CANNOT wait to read this book. If I don’t win it in this giveaway I am buying it, losing my cell phone, and hiding to read it. <3

Thanks for the chance Natasha! Can’t wait to get my hands on this. Just have to wait in line through the library! :)

Every review you write makes me want to dive into the book right away. This one is no exception. Cannot wait to read it.

I love your reviews. They definitely influence which books I purchase. I haven’t read any of J R Ward’s books yet, and would love to win this ebook.

Love how you include quotes in your reviews! I’ve one-clicked one too many books after reading one of your reviews lol!

Now I really want to put Bourbon Kings at the top of the reading list. So excited to be reading it soon. Such a wonderful review.

This cover is gorgeous and I keep seeing this book pop up in all kinds of places ! I would love to read and discover what it’s all about !!!

Damn it! Now that sounds like an amazing storyline with twists and turns. Your review had me right on the edge of my seat.
Thank you so much for always hitting the nail on the head.
I pretty much trust you judgment on every single book cause you haven’t let me done once.
Or lets say we just share the same taste in books. Its sometimes a little scary ;)

Really fantastic review!! Reading all the great things about this book is making me sooo excited to read it! I love J.R. Ward! The Bourbon Kings sounds really amazing, can’t wait to read it!

Your reviews are always on point! They never let me down, when I’m in a book slump I love to look at the blog and see what the next recommendation is!

I cannot wait to read it. I was already watching it, but was even more excited when I read your review!

Your review just makes me want to read it more and it’s been on my wish list since it was announced. The price is killer though for me right now.

Im a virgen wnen it comes to this author but after reading this review i definitely need to give it a try

Thanks for the post and your thoughts on this book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. I have been anxious for this release and even more excited after reading your review! =D

I was really torn considering the “not-so-great” reviews, but then I read yours and now I’m so excited to jump in! Thanks for keeping it real!

Goodness, I love your reviews! I can always count on you to tell me how great or not so great a book is. I want this book now! I have all of BDB books in paperback, and I cannot wait to add this gem from JR Ward!

I’m a huge fan of The Wardens and have been so excited for this book to come out…it’s literally been on my amazon wish list since she first announced it!! Now, reading your review, I’m even more anxious to read it!! The Bourbon Kings sounds like the Wardens next big hit!!

Awesome review!! I can always one click away because of your reviews on books! You have never steered me wrong!!

This book sounds realllly good. I hate to admit I haven’t read any of her other books before but I think that will change soon. Thanks

Been wanting to read this book badly but as you say, price is a factor! Your review was amazing and now I am jonesing even more to read it. I hope I can win a copy. Thanks for the chance!!

Omg! I need this book like RIGHT NOW!!! That’s sounds like a really awesome-wont-be-able-to-put-down-and-got-hot-swoon-worthy-guys book! I seriously need it in my life now that I know of it!!!! Thank you for the awesome review! Will definitely pick this up!

I’m so excited to read a J.R. ward novel that isn’t paranormal! The review made me even more excited!! Thank you for the chance to read this! :-)

Love love love you reviews. You have an incredible way with words. Wouldn’t have looked at this book if it wasn’t for your review

To date I have loved everything JR Ward has written except The Shadows that I had very mixed feelings for and I am a huge Contemporary fan so I am super excited to read this! Based on your review I should really enjoy it!

Thanks so much!

Awesome and heartfelt review as always Natasha!! Your reviews are like gold to me. I value your opinion and recommendations very highly. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into your reviews. I will definitely be saving my money to buy this ASAP.

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