The Gods of Newport

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Overview


In the late nineteenth century, Newport, Rhode Island-with its giant marble mansions, lavish dinner parties, and vicious social climbing- is a summer playground of the very rich. Into this rarefied world comes infamous railroad mogul and robber baron Sam Driver. He wants his beautiful daughter to have the best Newport has to offer-even if that means breaking all the rules...
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Overview


In the late nineteenth century, Newport, Rhode Island-with its giant marble mansions, lavish dinner parties, and vicious social climbing- is a summer playground of the very rich. Into this rarefied world comes infamous railroad mogul and robber baron Sam Driver. He wants his beautiful daughter to have the best Newport has to offer-even if that means breaking all the rules...
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The robber baron at the center of John Jakes's historical novel gains lucre, but can he win his daughter a respectable husband among the haughty rich of Newport, Rhode Island? A multi-tiered novel set in the 1890s.
Publishers Weekly
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-si cle excess will have fans savoring the lavish details of jewelry, fashion, food and follies. (Nov. 7) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
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 Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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 bogusRussian-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. Agent: Frank Curtis/Rembar & Curtis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597223294
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


John Jakes is the bestselling author of Charleston, the Kent Family Chronicles, the North and South trilogy, On Secret Service, California Gold, Homeland, and American Dreams. Descended from a soldier of the Virginia Continental Line who fought in the American Revolution, Jakes is one of today’s most distinguished authors of historical fiction.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Spend the Summer in Newport!

    I will read it in a car,
    I will read it near or far.
    I will read it at least as far as Newport! I cannot wait to go back to Rhode Island with this romantic, dangerous book in hand. What great summer reading under the stars along the New England Coastline. (Don't forget to stay in a spacious and tasteful B&B!) John Jakes, the godfather of historical novels, spills out a vibrant, vexacious story full of the basest motives of the upper crust and those seeking entry into the upper echelons of fabled Newport Society in its Golden Age. Tour the breakers and see it all happen on paper all over again wrapped up in the intrigues of a fictional father and daughter. Loved it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Hello Hello

    When is John Jakes going to come out with a new book?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    v tjuty

    Gj yugjcnuiy vn,bv,gjdhiyo b, . ?ut

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    Diappointing

    I had read earlier Jakes' novels and enjoyed them. I was disappointed in this book - almost had to force myself to finish it. The characters were poorly developed and, as a reader, I never related to any of them or really cared about what happened to them. I do not recommend this book for purchase.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    With apologies to Mr. Jakes...

    I have read most of the books written by John Jakes. The Kent Family series and the Crown Family series are two of my favorites of all-time. That's why it pains me to say that I couldn't finish this book. I kept waiting for it to "kick in" and it never did, or at least, not in the first 175 pages - which is about where I quit reading. Some of the characters where at least semi-interesting so I'm not exactly sure why I didn't like it. Basically, I was just bored.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful story set in Newport during the late 1890s

    If you have ever been to Newport you will have been fascinated with it as I have been. This is a wonderful story of what life was like in Newport during the 1890s for all classes. Sam, who has clawed his way to the top through thuggish ways that led to the death of his wife, takes his daughter Jenny to Newport, where they previously weren't welcome because their money hadn't been in the family for generations. The elite, rich society of Newport - vacationing a couple of summer months in their cottages (now known as exquisite mansions) - don't care whether you earned your own money, or how much you had, just how long your family had it. There Jenny meets all types of characters, mostly rich and cruel, and a handsome young man who vies to win her even though he has no money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2008

    A Great Read for Finding History in a Romance Novel

    Having been to Newport so many times and aiming to make Rhode Island my future home, knowing where I want to be in life after much maturing and learning some difficult lessons, I, of course, want to read as much about the Ocean State as possible-past, present, and future. Today, when I tour the Newport Mansions I have a very good perspective of what life at the turn of the century was like there-both the good and the bad aspects. The good-Alva Vanderbilt learning to let go of her daughter Consuelo so she could divorce her mother's choice of suitor and marry her own. Also, Alva's fight for women's right to vote, and including all women, regardless of social class in her meetings and gatherings was a big step for the times. The bad-those who used their social class as a weapon. The book was the typical 'good guy gets the girl he wants' ending, which was sweet, but I got more from the history than anything else.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    Very boring

    I have read Jakes books in the past, and expected better. Was very disappointed. Boring had to force myself to finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    A great debut to another series.

    This is a good book about the gilded age in American history. The characters are realistic and well developed unlike some of his recent single novels. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the second novel in the series!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I really enjoyed this book, I could not put it down. The characters are well developed and in the end I really wanted to see how everything would pan out for them. Jakes attention to detail is wonderful, it makes you feel like you are actually there.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    Excellent

    'Gods of Newport' is a great novel, I could not put it down! Jakes writing makes you feel like you are in the room with the characters. The characters are well written and in the end you will come to like them. The period detail is fantatstic. The perfect vacation read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 28, 2009

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    Posted February 17, 2012

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    Posted March 17, 2012

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    Posted September 11, 2010

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    Posted September 4, 2011

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    Posted August 26, 2013

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    Posted August 1, 2013

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    Posted December 8, 2010

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