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The Gods of Newport[Paperback,2007]

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,225 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
The Gods of Newport{Paperback,2007}
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Signet,2007. (first published November 2006)
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Pam Nichols
In my effort to empty my shelves, I picked this one. I loved North and South and am intrigued by Newport's high society. The opulence of the lifestyles of the rich in per-1900 America is jaw dropping. Many interesting details about social climbing, throw in an unsuitable suitor and some actual historical names and you have a quick summer read.
Paula Berinstein
It is with regret that I give this book by this fine author three stars. All the elements for a deep and moving story are there but he remains on the surface, drawing crude one-dimensional stick figure characters instead. Jakes does this sometimes, which is weird because his Civil War trilogy is a masterpiece. I imagine his publisher must have rushed him. Why else does a talented author rush so much? Anyway, I'm afraid I can't recommend this one. But do read his Civil War trilogy. It's unforgett ...more
Joanne
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A enjoyable saga of the golden age of Newport, RI when having a "cottage" was fashionable. Now those cottages are called mansions and thousands of visitors tour them each year. Recently went to see Rosecliff where they filmed the Great Gatsby. The book basically took place from 1893 - 1897. Sam Driver and his daughter Jennifer break into the society set. Money helps a lot with achieving their goals. Sam's plan to have his daughter marry well and titles are the new vogue. While her intended is ti ...more
Benjamin Thomas
This is an historical novel taking place at the end of the gilded age in Newport, Rhode Island, home to the massively rich, both inherited wealth and newly acquired by robber barons and the like. It generally takes place from 1893 through 1897 with one flash back sequence used to show how one of the main characters worked his way to riches and thus justify his place in Newport society.

This period in US history is rife with change. Rapid changes in technology, political points of view, and world
...more
Beth Bedee
[EDIT 2ND READ]
After a recent trip to Newport, I decided to revisit this book. I had no prior knowledge of the period or place for my first read-through. However, this time, I have the visual image as well as several tourist books under my belt. This book is very thoroughly researched. It makes me appreciate John Jakes even more now. When you're reading one of his novels and you encounter a historic figure, there is a 99.9% chance that that person really said or did what was in the book. At the
...more
Susan
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fiction, 2014
When I got this from the library, I didn't realize it was an abridged version. I despise these and would have preferred to hear ALL the words the author took the time and effort to pen. However, after finishing this, I felt like I hear a whole story. That is to say, the story flowed smoothly and the actions on the part of the characters was logical - and interesting.

I plan to get the printed book and read it as Newport and the gilded age history are something I find very interesting. It appears
...more
Karyl
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it
The Gods of Newport is a light, easy, fast-moving read on the occupants of Newport during the Gilded Age. It was fun to read a novel based on the people whose "cottages" I had toured when I lived in Newport, but it really made me homesick for my former town. I kept trying my best to reconcile the Newport in the novel with the Newport I knew; I would have loved to see a map of the city at that time.

That said, I didn't really enjoy Jakes's writing style. It felt rather choppy, and the plot was fa
...more
Christie
Oct 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring!!!!!!! Tara gave me this because of the couple months that I spent in Newport. The portions that talked about Newport was kind of interesting since I had seen the mansions and walked the cliffs but the story was weak and wordy and the typical short fall of a male author.
Sarah
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly acclaimed novel and while I liked it - I can't say I loved it. It was interesting and the places and people were often based upon real life people and events but... it didn't leave me wanting more or feeling that engaged with these amazingly complex people. The complexities did come through but I didn't really care for any of them. Perhaps that is a reflection of the writing or the times or the people. I don't know.
Linda
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nouveau riche Sam Driver and his daughter, Jenny, do their best to break into Gilded Age Newport society in this entertaining historical novel. Despite Sam's aspirations, Jenny falls for a poor Irish lad and is torn between her desire and the expectation that she will make a socially advantageous marriage. Jakes portrays the world of 50-room ostentatious summer cottages with his usual keen eye for historical accuracy.
Kathy Walsh
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I enjoyed this book as I live in the area and knew about some the places and people he wrote about
Isabel
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good beach read about the wealthy New York families who built their summer 'cottages' in Newport.
Dora
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my most favorite John Jakes novel. Characters were a bit more shallow than normal. Wasn't really routing for a character as in other novels. But I still love the historical perspective.
Karen Canfield
Liked Charleston way better
M.B. Gibson
While I've loved John Jakes other historical series, this story was rather mediocre. The background of the story was well researched, but I could not care quite enough about any of the characters.
Robert Sterling
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A typical John Jake's novel.

I say typical because like many of his novels that I have read, this one is also outstanding. Readers will not be disappointed.
Monica
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love John Jakes - Charleston is one of my favorites - but I just couldn't get into this one. Still, it gives you a great feel for Newport in that era.
Pam Hall
OK book, but not anything outstanding. I wasn't that interested in anybody in the story--maybe because it's a pretty short book and didn't' have enough time for real character development.
Crystal
Nov 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not get past the first ten pages. The characters are drier than stale crackers and I do not have a good grip on them. I shut the book and stopped caring.

The writing also stale too.
Tara
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover of The Gods of Newport makes it look more trashy and ridiculous than it really is.

When I first visited Newport, I fell in love with it. After we got home, I looked around for some books about Newport during the Gilded Age and came across this novel. The descriptions of Newport society during the late nineteenth century, when the super rich were building "cottages" along Bellevue Avenue (multi-million dollar mansions that were only used for a 6-8 week summer season each year) and throw
...more
Jan
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me forever to read, got more interesting as it went along.
Story. Starts in 1893, railroads were being built, money was being made and lost, people were scamming everyone in different railroad stocks, people made money, people lost money. One who came from nothing was Sam, he made his millions. Married an actress, had a daughter. The mum died and he raised his daughter in luxury. Mother had always wanted to be a society lady, so he spent millions in NewPort to introduce his daughter to all "
...more
Richard
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like romcoms/rags-to-riches stories
Recommended to Richard by: elderly former socialite
This kind of pulp fiction is not to my taste, but it was forced on me by elderly friend, long-time tennis player, and one-time socialite, properly raised as a scion of old money.

The book, significantly predictable, revolves around the interrupted love of the daughter of a nouveau riche railroad magnate and an Irish son of a hotel maid from after the Civil War until the turn of the twentieth century. This allows the father who worked with Jay Gould and Jim Fisk to practice some rough-necked stunt
...more
rinabeana
Sep 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: Sam Driver is one of the nouveaux riche who tries to break into high society in Newport, RI, where the richest of the rich spend their summers. His concern is for his daughter, who seeks society’s acceptance, but will it be what she really wanted?

Comments: I’ve been to Newport and seen some of the mansions (what opulence!) so I had some perspective for reading this book, which always helps. As usual, Jakes wove his fictional characters into history’s framework, portraying such personag
...more
Thom Swennes
As a long time fan of John Jakes I started reading his novel, The Gods of Newport, with enthusiastic expectation. His story-telling talent wasn’t disappointing as his words ran beneath my eyes, eating up page after page, chapter after chapter and his story of the rich crust of American society stimulated my imagination. Jakes has occasionally been criticized for his liberal use of historic personages in his narratives. I admire the way he weaves history and fiction into an entertaining mix. The ...more
Leigh
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
Definitely not Jakes' best work. The historical details were, as always, fabulous, but the story that he built around them was bland. The characters felt generic and two-dimensional; unfortunately, the real-life characters of the era, many of whom do appear here, were just so colorful and outlandish that it is difficult to create fictional characters that can compete.

Further, the 'forbidden romance' storyline never took off for me. If there was a moment when this unlikely pair fell for one anot
...more
Joe
Mar 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book and an entertaining story. It's not quite on par with his other books though, but I wasn't really surprised. The character development is not as good, it's harder to find someone in the book to actually like besides the one obvious protagonist. Just when the book actually starts to get really good, he wraps it all up in a couple quick chapters. It does prevent the book from dragging, but it also leaves out a lot of plot that could be developed.
It's a very entertaining and ver
...more
Debbie
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Set mainly in NYC and Newport, RI, during the turn of the century, the rich of the the Gilded Age are prone to excesses and live in sharp contrast to the poor who exist only to serve them. Other than the interesting setting, this is a typical poor boy-meets-rich girl who fall in love but are torn apart by the rich girl’s father. Nouveau-riche Sam Driver is a master manipulator who will do anything at any cost to secure his daughter Jenny’s place in high society. Having visited Newport on vacatio ...more
E Wilson


As in so many historical novels I read, the historical facts and
details of the society at that time are much more interesting to me
than the characters or the plot.

The characters in this book are a pretty unlikable lot. Sam Driver
had made a fortune by hook and by crook. Now he dreams of being an
accepted member of the Newport society. His daughter, Jenny also gets
into the social climbing game and is thrilled when she is accepted by
some of the mavens of Newport. Jenny's romance with the poor Iri
...more
Kaye
Having visited the mansions and heard the stories of the wealth in Newport, R.I. I wanted a book that would bring it all to life. This wasn't it. The story starts with a fictional Sam Driver who has made his millions in railroads but wants his daughter to be accepted by the Newport society matrons. His daughter was bland and I never got into Prince, the bad boy, uneducated, love interest which is large part of the story. Neither Prince or Sam are nice men but at least Sam is interesting and his ...more
Sarah
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a John Jakes fanatic and I can't believe I somehow missed this title being published. For some reason, I love a good epic, and Jakes always delivers. This time he focuses on Newport and the rich people who live there. We've all heard the big names--Vanderbilts, Astors, etc. Sam Driver is new to the scene because of his railroad money and he's determined to find a husband for his lovely daughter. They infiltrate the rich and famous Newport society but find it isn't exactly what they had hoped ...more
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John Jakes, the author of more than a dozen novels, is regarded as one of today’s most distinguished writers of historical fiction. His work includes the highly acclaimed Kent Family Chronicles series and the North and South Trilogy. Jakes’s commitment to historical accuracy and evocative storytelling earned him the title of “the godfather of historical novelists” from the Los Angeles Times and le ...more
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