20 November 2014
Homeland, John Jake’s formidable novel about the final explosive events if the nineteenth century, is the first in a series that will focus attention on a new “Jakes” family, the Crowns.
Multiple characters and settings are the norm for Jakes; however, this story rivets primarily attention on Paul Crown, a young German immigrant. Paul leaves behind a Germany of cholera, poverty and political upheaval only to face problems of equal magnitude in America. Undaunted by a difficult ocean crossing, Paul arrives at Ellis Island penniless but naively optimistic about his future. He makes his weary way to the opulent home of his uncle, Joe Crown, a well-established brewer in Chicago. Jakes uses the Chicago setting as a drop back for his story. Paul’s uncle, Joe, and cousin, Joe Jr., are foils in this “lass struggle” that ultimately fractures the Crown family and forces Paul to leave his uncle’s home to find work on his own. The behavior and work ethic of Joe. Who is born to wealth and privileged in America, is juxtaposed with that of immigration Paul. Jakes portrayed Joe Jr. as spoiled and without focus especially when compared to Paul’s mature approach to life and work.
Jakes utilizes the character of Paul to introduce the reader to the fledging business of moving pictures. Paul is fascinated with the new “art form” which involves him in many adventures including war, a brush with death, and marrying his first love. This first novel of the Crown series does a creditable job in setting the stage for future adventures of Paul Crown and his budding new Family.
Jakes, John. Homeland New York: Bantam Books, 1994. (Paperback Edition)