First in the series about the Baldwine family dynasty, multi-generational bourbon makers in Charlemont, Kentucky. This was like reading the script of a nighttime soap opera from the early 80s. Because it centered around the time of year of horse derbies, there were a lot of men in fancy suits and women in long gowns. The only things missing were large shoulder pads and cat fights involving the swimming pool! It’s fun to sit back and watch the ridiculous shenanigans and manipulations between the entitled, especially when most of their problems stem from their own lies and false assumptions.
Book 1 centers around one of the heirs to the company, Lane Baldwine, who is welcomed back into the fold after a two-year hiatus in NYC, where he spent his time successfully playing poker because he’d “essentially never worked a day in his life”. His purpose was mainly to avoid his gold-digger wife, Chantal. Now that he’s back, he’s eager to begin divorce proceedings and try to gain back favor with his true love, Lizzie King, who works for the family as their horticulturist.
We are also introduced to siblings, Virginia “Gin”, and Edward, who both have their own demons they are battling, including righteous anger and broken hearts of their own. A missing sibling, Max, is talked about but not as yet seen. Add to the mix a mother who is hidden away because of either a breakdown or dementia, an abusive and abominably heinous father, and miscellaneous chauvinistic attitudes, rape, voyeurism, possible murders, there is no end to the dysfunction.
This could be read on its own, but there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Similar to a “Who shot J.R.?” kind of thing. If you care, you’ll want to read on.
The Bourbon Kings
by J.R. Ward
#1 The Bourbon Kings
Audio narrated by Alexander Cendese