“There are always people getting into trouble in this town, which is the good news and the bad news.”
Published: July 26 2016
Publisher: New American Library
Pages: 414 (Hardcover)
Series: The Bourbon Kings #2
“What’s the saying? Oh, how the mighty have fallen?”
In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…
No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.
Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?
Seeing people describe this series as a ‘sweeping Southern saga’ does this trilogy such justice. There’s no other way I would describe this other than that. It’s the most complex, addicting, over the top piece of fiction I have ever had the privilege of devouring.
This book leaves off directly after the first, after the death of William Baldwine and the destruction of the Bradford Bourbon Company as the family knows it. The first book leaves us with a lot of loose ends dangling, which is fine considering this is a trilogy, so I went into this with a lot of questions and a lot of desires in terms of plot. The good and bad news is this; there are a lot of things that happened that I wasn’t expecting or didn’t want to happen, but this was the best kind of hot-mess. It’s one of those books you read because it’s so entertaining and addicting, but you know you’re gonna leave with questions, heartbreak, and a desperate need for the next installment.
One of the things I love about this series in general is that fact that it isn’t limited to one view point, the POV in this is spot on and makes it a whole family affair instead of just focusing on one member of the family. There are so many little plots running concurrently together, some tying into one another without realizing it, but it isn’t confusing or hard to follow. These little plot points and the vast cast of characters means I was never bored while I was reading this, there was always something exciting happening and some new drama brewing. While we get all the central characters from the first book, we also get introduced to Maxwell Baldwine, black sheep of the family, we get to actually talk to Little V.E., even if she isn’t really with it mentally, the master distiller gets a new love interest, and we get to meet another, surprising member of the family.
The central issue in this book is the murder of William Baldwine and all he kept from his children in terms of the business and money. Lane is focused on finding out who murdered his father, even though he has a pretty good idea who it was, and he’s also trying to save this whole billion dollar business. The harsh reality is they’re good and truly broke, and their entire household is crumbing around them. While this added an interesting aspect to the series, there’s really nothing like a good old-fashioned murder mystery, I was a little bummed about how this played out. Granted, I can understand the ending, it isn’t far fetched, but it still stings none the less. I’m really interested in seeing how this plays out in the final book, considering there are a lot of things that need tied up, and a lot of happy endings I want to see, but the way this series is going I don’t know if a happy ending for anyone is on the horizon.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I love J.R. Ward’s writing style. It’s so eloquent and detailed, the entire time I was reading I felt like it was a genuine masterpiece, and not just because I loved the book as a whole. Her writing has a way of sucking you into her worlds completely and making you a part of her masterful universe. Her writing casts a spell, that’s for damn sure. If you’re interested in family sagas like Dynasty or day time soaps, then this series will be a hit for you.
The Bourbon Kings Trilogy