Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted July 10, 2015 in Review / 6 Comments

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings

Series: The Bourbon KIngs #1
by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on July 28th, 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: eARC

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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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.


J.R. Ward is The Warden to me.  I’ve read a few of her books.  Okay, it’s been nine of them.  I’ve read The Black Dagger Brotherhood  books up to #10 (I’m having a hard time getting past missing Wellsie, sorry!).  Ms. Ward has always been one of my favorite authors.  She is good.

I knew Ms. Ward wrote contemporary romance as “Jessica Bird”, so I was not surprised to see her new contemporary romance “The Bourbon Kings”.  So what made me get up off my butt and grab this new contemporary romance of hers?  So many reasons starting right at the top with the synopsis.

I love stories set in the south.  Set the story in a state in or near where I live (or my home state of Ohio) and I will read it!  I love Kentucky!  During my college years I spent quite a few weekends in Kentucky either rock climbing or partying.  I’m surprised I even remember any of it.

The other clincher in the synopsis?  The prodigal son returns home…  and has a wife?  How in the world will I get my HEA?  Intriguing…

I will warn you, this is book one in a series so there will be many plots open at the end of this book.  If you’re familiar with me, you might know I HATE CLIFFHANGERS.  This book reads more like a (cough) soap opera but on fast forward.  I had closure with the main love interests (for this book) but many plot threads remained open.

Speaking of those other plot threads, as you can guess, they focus on the other Baldwine (not a typo) family members.  I’m taking a guess here but what I think Ms. Ward is doing is building up the drama and backstory to each couple in the books leading up to their respective books.  So where you saw romance between Lane and Lizzie in this book, you have another couple up front and center for romance in the next book.

And holy cow, that drama she is building up!!!  I have my favorite plot threads right now but I wonder if they’ll change as the books progress (because I will be continuing with this series).  Right now I love Edward’s story and I have no clue who he will end up with 😉  He freakin’ rocks!!  Don’t even get me started on Lane’s relationship with his “mom” (awwwww).

I rely on Ms. Ward to bring her A-game when it comes to flawless writing – both grammatically and structurally.  This story is written in multiple POVs so I’m sure it’s never easy to organize the flow and tempo of a story with the voices of the characters.  The plot ebbed and flowed perfectly with tension and drama spread out evenly throughout the book BUT peppered with nice quiet moments to set the reader up for upheaval around the bend.  Me likey!

There really is a lot going on in this book.  I don’t recommend this read for those of you who like complete closure in your books.  Likewise, there is nothing paranormal about this, either 😉  Except maybe how crazy rich folk can be…






About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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

    • K

      Ya know, I actually thought the first few chapters kind of sucked eggs (bwahaha). I forgot to mention that in my review (oops!) – that Ward took her time setting up the atmosphere. What saved it for me was Edward’s story, hands down *smacks that table*.

      I’m thinking you need to be my book guru now…. 😉

    • K

      Hmmmm, maybe not for you b/c honestly, the main loves could still get dumped on their faces in the next book, I have no way of telling 🙁 Her other series is HOT PNR (think Larissa Ione, for example) so if you like those…

    • K

      Just be prepared for multiple stories!!! Like I said, I think I gave it high marks solely on Edward!! And it did take a while for it to pick up and take off. I swear, I should have custom reviews for each of my friends knowing what each of them like and don’t like 😉