THE BOURBON KINGS is blockbuster J.R. Ward's first book in
a new contemporary romance series. The series will
center around the Bradfords, an obscenely wealthy family
run a top bourbon distillery in Kentucky. The Bradfords
a palatial estate where the employees are rather like
Edwardian servants, where they must operate behind the
scenes so as to not disturb the privileged family members.
The setting is 80's TV soap opera Dallas meets Downton
Abbey. The set is obscenely luxurious, with "genteel"
southern belles (read: back-stabbing fake-y vipers), jet
planes, Rolls Royces, and high fashion. This is high
and it's mesmerizing. The series has already been
for television by Endemol Studios, the same company behind
Hell on Wheels, Fear Factor and Big Brother.
The book is set at Easterly, the Bradfords' estate. The
family has all the utterly messed up characters that I
expect from a dysfunctional Southern dynasty. There's the
unremittingly evil patriarch, the reclusive zoned out on
drugs mother, and the screwed up children who are damaged
their horrific family life. Edward, the oldest son, has
survived kidnapping and torture. He's left a wreak of a
man, avoiding his family and the rest of the glittering
society while he slowly spirals into the escape of
alcoholism. Gin, the spoiled witch-with-a-b of a
is the only daughter. She lapsed into promiscuity to
distract herself from a terrible mistake as a teenager.
She's chosen to be glittering, helpless, and vicious. I
can't help but pity her at the same time as I am disgusted
by her. Max, the absent son, is shown in a few
flashbacks. Each of these children is going to make a
central book character in this series; they are all
fascinating in a train wreck sort of way.
Lane rushes back to Easterly when Miss Aurora, the elderly
cook who essentially raised Lane and his siblings, is
hospitalized. Lane finds himself unexpectedly in the
of a convoluted mystery that claims lives and fortunes.
the midst of all the turmoil on the estate, Lane pursues
Lizzie, desperate to get her back and hold on to her heart
this time. There are so many twists and turns to this
unexpected plot, and the calamities and betrayals pile up
quickly. While the plot is over-the-top, it is such a fun
ride that I happily gobbled it up. While I don't like
of the characters as people, I simply could not put THE
BOURBON KINGS down. I join the throngs clamoring for the
in this fantastically compelling series, which I predict
will enjoy a meteoric rise to immense fame. Bring it, Ms.
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black
Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new
series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family
defined by wealth and privilegeâ€”and compromised by
deceit, and scandal....
For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle
kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained
wealth has afforded them prestige and privilegeâ€”as well as
hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate,
Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances
by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs,
staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable
Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.
For Lizzie King, Easterlyâ€™s head gardener, crossing that
divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with
the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that
she intended or wantedâ€”and their bitter breakup only
to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of
staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he
bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked:
not Tulaneâ€™s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older
brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds;
especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man
few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible
As family tensionsâ€”professional and intimately
privateâ€”ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are
into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only
the cunning will survive.