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The Resource The gods of Newport, John Jakes

The gods of Newport, John Jakes

Label
The gods of Newport
Title
The gods of Newport
Statement of responsibility
John Jakes
Creator
Subject
Genre
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • The prolific Jakes scores with a lush new historical saga set on the glamorous, windswept shores of late-nineteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island, the summer playground of the fabulously wealthy. Newport society is ruled by a small but powerful clique of old-money social arbiters. When railroad mogul and former robber baron Sam Driver arrives in Newport in 1893, he is determined to break into the elite inner circle that has tantalized him for the past few decades. Sam's social ambitions also involve his breathtakingly beautiful daughter, Jenny. Although Sam forces Jenny into a loveless marriage with a titled scoundrel, her heart belongs to an impoverished but charming young Irishman. Despite the fact that the recycled plot is a bit worn around the edges, Jakes displays his characteristic flair for class melodrama when he parallels the world of the rich and careless with the world of the hardscrabble underclass who work tirelessly to enable their «social betters» to indulge in their summer idylls. He has fashioned yet another breezy, easy-to-read piece of historical fiction, sure to please his many fans. -- Margaret Flanagan (Reviewed 09-15-2006) (Booklist, vol 103, number 2, p6)
  • True love confronts Gilded Age class hierarchy in Jakes's latest engaging historical potboiler. Railroad tycoon Sam Driver sets out to conquer the summer resort of Newport, R.I., at the 1890s pinnacle of its glamour—and snootiness—in order to avenge its snubbing of his dead wife and find a prestigious match for his daughter, Jenny. It's a world ruled by New York socialites, where the slightest blemish of background or breach of protocol triggers ostracism. Sam struggles to conform while fending off the efforts of an old rival to exclude him, but Jenny throws a monkey wrench into things by falling in love with a handsome, lower-class Irishman. Jakes serves up a melodrama—and satire—of the tyranny of social convention with a girl-power ending. It doesn't always ring true, especially when Sam pressures Jenny to marry the obviously villainous Count Orlov, and action set pieces like a tennis match and a carriage race are less than gripping. But Jakes is a fluent storyteller, and his meticulous reconstruction of fin-de-siècle excess will have fans savoring the lavish details of jewelry, fashion, food and follies. (Nov. 7) --Staff (Reviewed October 2, 2006) (Publishers Weekly, vol 253, issue 39, p36)
  • Jakes's latest historical novel is a very mixed bag. The details of life in the so-called Gilded Age of the 1890s are fascinating, but the political and economic travails of the rich as shown here are confusing and detract from the story. Worse, the plot is predictable. Robber baron Sam Driver made his money as a railroad mogul after the Civil War and now wants his family to be accepted in the socially elite community of Newport, RI. His daughter, Jenny, of course, falls for a poor if ambitious young Irishman but is forced to marry someone else; however, we all know she will eventually find true happiness. Those Jakes readers who enjoy his novels best when they are massive and wrapped around a major war or historical event (e.g., the Civil War in the "North and South" trilogy) will be disappointed, as this new work is on the short side, lacks drama, and is more a romance than an epic. At 74, Jakes shows no sign of stopping, but he should go back to what he does best. For larger collections.—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI --Robert Conroy (Reviewed November 1, 2006) (Library Journal, vol 131, issue 18, p68)
  • Folksy storyteller Jakes (Charleston, 2002, etc.) directs a relatively economical drama of scandal and bad manners amid newly rich robber barons climbing the summer social ladder in Newport, RI.Having cut his teeth working for Erie Railroad moguls Jay Gould and Jim Fisk after the Civil War, Samuel Driver has gotten to be a millionaire railroad baron in his own right—the break-your-knees way. Having married the good-looking hotel dancer Grace Penny, and with a grown auburn-haired daughter named Jenny, Sam the swell is blocked from cracking polite society by the nobs at Newport, however, mainly on account of bad blood between him and William K Brady III, undercut by Driver in a Wall Street bond scheme decades before. Now, in 1893, an intruder in Driver's home leaves Grace dead from a gunshot, and Sam and 18-year-old Jenny decide to build that house in Newport after all, because Grace wanted it. Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Fish and Mrs. Vanderbilt, however, must be vanquished, and especially Mrs. William Brady, Emmeline, aka the Tigress, sherry-sodden and off her rocker, who concocts the plot to ruin Jenny Driver by urging her daughter, Honoria, to befriend the girl all the while talking ill behind her back. And Honoria has her cap set on suave young architect Dickie Glossop, but once Dickie spots Jenny, he agrees to design the new Driver cottage, despite his better social instincts. Jenny has a will of her own, though, and is terribly attracted to a handsome Irish sportsman, Prince Molloy, who wins Jenny's love but pays dearly for it when roughed up by her father's thugs. Driver, naturally, aims to have his daughter married to a titled gentleman, such as the charming, brutal Count Orlov, of bogus Russian-French title, but good enough for Driver's purposes. Historical personages blend nicely with the fictional in Jakes's neatly organized saga, and the folly and ambitions of a father and rapacious businessman are exposed and forgiven.Another well-hewn American history lesson for Jakes's devoted fans. (Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
147251
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1932-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Jakes, John
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Upper class
  • United States
  • Newport (R.I.)
Label
The gods of Newport, John Jakes
Instantiates
Publication
Isbn
9780525949763
Lccn
2006027108
Label
The gods of Newport, John Jakes
Publication
Isbn
9780525949763
Lccn
2006027108

Library Locations

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      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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