Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#42: Savannah (John Jakes)

on October 10, 2013

I was first introduced to John Jakes’ work in junior high school.  I was doing an independent study in American history and the coordinator recommended I read the Kent Family Chronicles. Looking back on that recommendation, I’m still surprised; even though the history was fascinating, the novel was a bit too mature in content for my young mind. Since then, I’ve always been fascinated by Jakes’ works but have never really taken the opportunity to dive in.  This week, I visited a city that I dearly love — Savannah, Georgia — only this time I traveled there during the closing months of the Civil War as told by John Jakes.

Savannah is enthralling as a historical narrative. The details of the war leap from the page. The reader is horrified at the suffering of the innocents at the hands of Union and Confederate soldiers. As a story, however, I found myself wanting more. After reading 100 pages, I was tempted to set the book aside and start something new. The only thing that caused me to push ahead was the realization that there were less than 200 pages remaining. In those final pages, the historical accounts took a backseat to the tribulations faced by the central characters. THIS is what I appreciate about John Jakes’ novels. He is a master storyteller; I simply wish he would get the story rolling a bit sooner.

It’s always been on my bucket list to read the Kent Family Chronicles in its entirety; I still plan to do so, but I’m not feeling an intense desire to start after reading Savannah. If you’ve had a better experience with the works of John Jakes, I’d love to hear about it. I’m willing to give him another chance. I just need a recommendation of which book offers the best storytelling.

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