My Monday must-read this week is one of the first books that got me into adult historical fiction.
I was in late junior high or early high school when I picked up John Jakes’ Charleston from the local library’s bookmobile. I had always loved historical fiction and read books like the Dear America series and American Girl, but I had never read any historical fiction novels written for adults.
Charleston was not a short book (more than 500 pages), which also drew me to it. (I have been known to attempt to read books just because of how long they are. I like big books…)
The writing kept me intrigued. Jakes had a mastery over the written word that captivated me. He stayed true to history, including some historical figures and events and writing fictional characters around it.
Charleston follows one family that lives in, you guessed it, Charleston, South Carolina. The story follows different generations through various parts of history. It truly is a historical saga.
Charleston was also the first book I read, that I can remember, that had an adult scene in it. (Sorry, mom.) It wasn’t overly graphic and I didn’t totally understand what was going on in it, but I had not read other scenes like that before.
Jakes has written numerous other novels, including the North and South trilogy, which I also recommend. He’s a writer of historical fiction that actually writes around the history, instead of writing the history around the story he’s trying to tell.