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.
Since I’m rereading old classics, and this was one of the great American Reading Books on the list I decided to work from that list for my classic reviews. Though Oscar Wilde is known for his plays, this is his only novel, first published in 1890. You will find earlier books under the name of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Dorian Gray first published this novel as a magazine series, and it was thought to be so immoral that the publisher cut 500 pages from the manuscript. It comes in many covers and you may want to be sure you get what you wanted, the cut addition or the whole book as written by Wilde.
It is a story about beauty and conceit and vanity. It focuses on a young man known for his beauty. The young man, Dorian Gray is told every day that he has exceptional beauty. At first he was modest and accepted these compliments humbly.
Later, when an artist friend, asked to paint his portrait, he finally agrees to sit for his friend. When finished and he had last taken on ownership he is enthralled with it. It is just what he needed to reconfirm, his amazing beauty.
The young man soon discovers the painting holds a dark secret. Eventually he must hide the painting from other eyes. He does this in order that others cannot see the secret the painting reveals.
This is a great story, whether you consider it has as a sci-fi or horror book, it is a classic everyone can enjoy. I highly recommend it. Others evidentially agree as it was one of 100 picked as the favorite books of the American readers.