Book Review by C. MacDonald
If you love Newport Beach, you'll enjoy reading Lenard Davis' "Newport." The retired history teacher tells you right off the bat that some of "the characters are made up but the story is real." There actually are some very real folks in his historical novel, people like Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Junipero Serra, Henry Huntington and Joe Beek (his descendants still run the ferry service between Balboa and Balboa Island).
Reading his 600-page epic is like riding in a Time Machine from the first Indians in the area through the Spanish, Mexican and American settlements, into the 20th Century. Through a series of short stories, Davis weaves his opus with suspense, conflict, humor, romance, heroes, betrayal, murder and hope. It reads like a TV mini-series because of his vivid, descriptive, often conversational and colorful writing.
A master storyteller, the lifelong Newport resident keeps you on the edge of your seat as he takes you on a fascinating journey where you'll discover not only the history of the area but that people in the past shared many of the same issues as the people of today, involving success, failure, pollution, marital conflict, shrewd competition, corruption, politics, neighbors, religion....
Davis is sometimes humorous, yet profound in his wisdom: "You must remember, my dear," her mother would say, "a true gentleman wishes to court a woman, who does not advertise availability;" "Just imagine a man can sell a puddle of mud for $300 and the suckers will go off thinking they got a bargain. And what's incredible is that maybe they did;" "Balboa Island was sold by a lot of damn crooks to a lot of damn fools...."
The fictional Morgan Family is especially fun to follow in their competitive frolics, triumphs and tragedies. You'll laugh and cry as their story evolves.
Davis makes some poignant comments--that get you thinking--about how Indians respected the World and "things natural. We seem to have forgotten all about this."
Find out more about "Newport," by contacting Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org