I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Penguin on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Sagas
Source: the publisher
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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.... 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.From the Hardcover edition.
I struggled with exactly how to rate this book before landing on a 3 star. It has some things going for it but a few things going against it. I can understand why some DNFed the book because it is full of EPIC WTFery but that WTFery was the thing that kept me entertained. I mean it was like looking at a train wreck and being unable to turn away because you just want to know WTF happened next.
I equate this book to a cross between a telenovela and a traditional US soap opera… we have the following:
- Family Empire – come on you know Dallas, Dynasty and The Young and the Restless all have family businesses that are empires. In this case we have a Kentucky Bourbon dynasty.
- Sibling Squabbles – well in this case it isn’t so much a squabble as it is dynamics between the 3 children we see and the 4th that is non-existent.
- Villains – Well in this case we have a bastard of a father, a bitch of an estranged wife and well an amazingly entitled asshole of a suitor (damn if you should call him that cause I’m sorry he’s just a supreme asshole)
- Unrequited Love Interests – The heroine of this story, rival family’s daughter and the dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild
- Secret Baby – The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild that doesn’t know he’s a father….
- Spoiled Princess – Beleive me when I say this woman is SPOILED… She wouldn’t know how to live without her money and damn if she doesn’t make the single largest mistake because of this HUGE reliance on the finer things in life
Don’t go in to this story thinking you are reading a romance because to be honest the romance is in many respects the weakest part of this. I enjoyed Lane and Lizzie but they weren’t the focus. I also found myself a bit frustrated with Lizzie’s attitude during most of the story. She’s very quick to jump to conclusions and typically the conclusions she jumps to are the most negative ones you can have. I also felt the ending to be a bit abrupt and choppy but as much as I hate to admit this… I’m hooked so give me more.
I am looking forward to the next books in this series because I think like this one I will be most interested in how the family deals with the revelations in this story. I want to see what happens with the oldest brother and the sister as they find their matches because damn if those stories won’t prove interesting. The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild will prove the most interesting when he finds out the secret as he has finally decided he’s done playing the games… or is he… tune in for more from this series… LOL