Charleston is an epic family saga. It takes place in South Carolina, in the city of the title. It follows the Bell family through many generations, a family of influence and wealth. It spans much time from the Revolution to the aftermath of the fall of the Confederacy.
If you like family sagas and you love history this is the book for you. The author paints her characters with a fine brush and gives you portraits of people you swear are living, breathing and with us in the flesh. It focuses on slavery, but as much on greed and power and standards of living.
The historical accuracy is evident and explained in detail in the Afterword of this novel. The research done in order to bring you this history is extraordinary and complete. Jakes does not miss any quirks of character or subtle meanings in expression or colloquialisms.
It saddens your heart to hear what the South went through during and even more after the Civil War, whether you were from the South or the North. How poor and how devastated Charleston’s people and city were after the war is given an accurate description and treated with honest writing and sympathy.
The struggle to bring the Negro the rights and life this war was supposed to guarantee is almost a novel on its own. No side was really changed by the war with regards to their feelings and belief. With that in mind, we are reminded what a terrible waste of men and property the war cost us as a nation.
I highly recommend this book as a chance to learn more about our history in an enjoyable way. I also suggest it is a wonderful study in human nature that is told truthfully. John Jakes is a New York Times Best Seller Author and has many more books to choose from so check out his others.