Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted March 28, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 19 Comments

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone is having a great day. Today I have Sophia Rose back on the blog with a review for The Bourbon Kings. I’m interested in her review, never read a Ward novel myself. Hope you guys enjoy it as well.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Published by Signet on July 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my 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. . . . Upstairs on the sprawling estate of Easterly, the kings of the bourbon capital of the world the Bradford family appear to play by the rules of good fortune and taste. Downstairs, the staff works 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 she intended and their breakup proved her instincts right. Now, after two years, Tulane is coming home. And no one will be left unmarked. . . ."

A family saga centered in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon and Horse Racing country sounded fantastic. I had only read the author’s paranormal romance work so I was more than curious to see what she did with the story of those coming from wealth, privilege and old Southern tradition.

My curiosity was more than satisfied about a different genre. Hoo Boy, this book had it all. It’s everything I look for in a family saga and more. The entanglements, the relationships, and the intricate and colorful world all came together in this lush, striking beginning to a dark family tale.

The book took on an upstairs-downstairs feel since one of the main narrators, Lizzie King, is a groundsworker at the big Bradford (Baldwine since the wife was the Bradford) family mansion and another main narrator is the youngest son, Lane. The wealth of this family is measured in the billions and they live in a very different world than the average person. Paid staff behave much like servants of old and even though the story is modern, it had a historical class structure element.

The Bradford- Baldwines are definitely an entertaining group with their flaws, struggles, heartbreaks, and determination. They could be snobby and self-centered, but the author gave them just that right amount of likeability so I could root for them- the children that is. The patriarch- oh man, I hated that man with a purple passion. And that cold, domineering reptile who wants to marry Gin- ick is he a bad one. Oh and Lane’s estranged wife was a shallow, conniving gold digger that needed to make herself scarce, but the rest had some redeeming features that I enjoyed seeing the seeds of growth and promise- especially Lane. I can’t wait to watch Lane learn his strengths and come into his own as things progress.

The author did a fantastic job painting a picture of the world, the set up to the overall story, and all the characters. The complexity of plot and characters left me engaged, intrigued, and very eager to press on with the series. There is romance in this book, but I think I would recommend it more for those who are good with a larger style plot and cast of characters blending the romance with fiction and mystery.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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19 responses to “Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

    • Very different from the brotherhood. I enjoyed seeing what she did with something like this and it was pretty good. Complex and a little confusing at times to untangle all the story paths, but still good. Hope you get the chance, Blodeuedd!

  1. Oh, I’ve been wanting to read this one but honestly forgot it existed for some reason. Great review, made me want to hunt it down.

  2. I remember hearing a lot about this one when it was released. I haven’t read it but I have her other series to try in French so I know I’ll try one day

    • Oh fun that you already have her other books so you can get a feel for her writing style. This is different from her vampire ones that I read, but I still really enjoyed it and will read book two.

    • It does hop around a bit with so many voices and plot threads so it probably was a tough one for audio. I have a horrid time with audios when there are more than two POVs or its a sci-fi or thriller with a lot of tech stuff. Hope you like it if you give it another go, Grace.

  3. This is one I didn’t think would be for me, but so many reviews tell me otherwise. You also have me thinking I need to get to it! πŸ™‚ Seems like the worldbuilding is what reigns in this book and I do love good worldbuilding!

    • Sometimes it is a surprise when a book ends up being my thing. I’m not a fan of soap opera or rich family drama and yet this one did it for me with it’s setting there during the Derby time of year and the family bourbon business with their big country estate. They aren’t especially good people, but I ended up wanting them to work it all out. Maybe for you. πŸ™‚

  4. Woohoo! I’m happy to see you enjoyed this one, Sophia. I’ve been very curious about it as I like this kind of saga and I also like Ward’s writing. Good to know I can take the plunge confidently. πŸ˜‰ Great review!

    • I was a little nervous shifting over from her BDB series, especially for a dramatic family saga style, but I got caught up in it quickly. Hope you end up enjoying it, too, Brandee!

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