Published by NAL on July 28, 2015
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.
FIRST DATE: Do not go into this date thinking it’s going to be all romance and chocolate. Nope. Expect more like a date filled with drama, Dynasty-style, complete with over-the-top characters, too much money, and plenty to drink. I actually liked that this was so very different than Ward’s BDB series (no shitkickers or vampires here), especially since I stopped reading Ward a couple of BDB books ago. I will say that Ward is an expert at building in a ton of characters and making a reader interested in them and invested in their fates. This book, though it’s filled with a ton of different characters and POVs, I’d say focuses on the reuniting and romance of Lane and Lizzie. Lane is the prodigal son and Lizzie is the family’s now-head gardener. Talk about your star-crossed lovers. Throw in money problems, lots of liquor, and one of them still married (oops) and you’ve definitely got some issues.
SECOND DATE: The romance of Lane and Lizzie seemed a bit tepid at times, especially considering how drama-filled their backstory was. Lane, who’s been playing the drunk playboy up in NYC, is called home when the lady who practically raised him (ie not his bio mom) falls ill. Coming home, he finds Lizzie working on his family’s estate and, he accepts the fact that he still loves her…and she loves him, despite the upstairs-downstairs issues and family drama that interferes. But theirs is not the only romance that comes into play. Scarred (both emotionally and physically) older brother Edward gets a bit of nookie and love (kind of hoping he’ll be the focus of the next installment). Then there’s spoiled baby sis, Gin, who’s dug quite a massive hole for herself (very curious as to where she goes from here…the ending of this book left her in kind of a bad way).
THIRD DATE: According to the article on Deadline.com, this series was just bought by NBC (purchased from the studio that bought the rights last year. Hollywood is a twisty place, man.) so it sounds like we’re going to see this drama coming to life on the small screen soon. Curiously enough, FOX also has a Kentucky bourbon family empire series in development. Guess we’re all getting drunk this season.
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