This is the last book in the Bourbon Kings trilogy, and the whole series is an over the top soap opera tale of a Kentucky bourbon dynasty. It’s not a book you can read on its own, so much of the action occurred with the first two books, and this one wraps up the mystery and gives characters their send off into the sunset. If you were a fan of Dynasty or Dallas back in the day, you’d probably enjoy the insanity of this series!
Back in book one, the family patriarch was murdered and Lane Baldwine is thrust into the position of head of the family and the business. He’d been away for some time, sowing his wild oats as it were, but has had to try to figure out what happened to his father and to the business. They are on the verge of bankruptcy, and with the death of his father, things are only getting worse. There are family secrets that need to be delved into, and family dynamics that need to shift and it’s all drama with a capital D!
It’s difficult to talk about the plot without giving away too much, but the eldest son, Edward has been arrested and confessed to the murder and he’s in jail mourning the loss of the woman he loves, Sutton Smythe – and she is also the head of their major rival, so that’s a problem. Lane has the love of his life, Lizzie, but their happiness is threatened by the lies and deceit in the family (and his bitchy ex-wife). Finally, Gin (their sister) has married a man her father picked out for her and it’s quickly sunk into an abusive relationship. Gin has always been a spoilt selfish woman, but she is determined to take everything she can from her marriage to finally be a mother to her teenage daughter (who is the daughter of her longtime lover, friend and enemy Samuel unbeknownst to both daughter and Samuel). To be honest, I found the relationship of Gin and Samuel to be more interesting than Lane and Lizzie, who were supposed to be the main focus of the book. Lizzie was rather bland, but Gin had the guts and the will to become a better person for her daughter, and she evolved over the course of the series in a way that Lizzie doesn’t.
This series is the only thing by Ms Ward that I’ve read – I could never understand the popularity of the vampire books (and I say that as a person who has read many vampire themed books) but these books were frothy soapy Southern gothic that I enjoyed. They’re not perfect by any means – the lone black woman Miss Aurora Toms is a very cliche character as the stalwart employee who basically raised the children and doesn’t have a life of her own. Of course, soap operas are never realistic, so that’s what you get with this as well.