Set in the harsh Australian bush against the outbreak of World War I, this novel is heartbreaking in its innocence, and shattering in its brutality.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sharon on 14-12-09
I am completely addicted to Bryce Courtenay's books. I read Jessica after several others and was not sure what to expect. In fact, it is brilliant. A real insight into the lives and times of the Australian outback and the prejudices meeted out to the native Aboriginals and poor immigrant whites. A fascinating, moving and thought enthalling book. I can't get enough of Bryce Courtenay but I will keep away from those snakes!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Elizabeth on 08-07-10
A great story that again teaches you some things about a time and place that you didnt know before. The characters are as always, well defined and you can relate to all of them. Its a gripping tale and you feel yourself becoming wrapped in the story and cant wait till you can continue with it. Often when I have read books by the same author, they can become too similar or just arent as good as the were, but Bryce Courtenay has so far never failed to grab my attention and keep it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Dave on 04-10-10
No light reading!
I have read or I should say listened to most of Bryce Courtenay's novels - the last three in sequence of reading were "Four Fires", "Whitethorn" and most recently "Jessica". Courtenay's books are powerful, stimulating and at times quite funny. In "Whitethorn" and to a lesser extent, "Four Fires", good triumphs over evil. Not so in Jessica; evil prevails. "Jessica" rates up there with Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the d'urbervilles", but Hardy's heroine never encounters the depth of human depravity and corruption so endured by Jessica. Courtenay attacks racism head on, sometimes with ridicule, sometimes with humor and always vividly exposing the cruelity and inhumanity of the state departments, in this case, Education and Aboriginal Affairs. The Church also does not escape the biting criticism of the author's pen.
At the risk of being too negative, I point out that there is a strong bond created between Jessica and the aborginal, Mary, a bond that endures a lifetime. The two lawyers, one who is a drunkard and the other a young idealistic communist, are both endearing, intelligent and principled.
One other reviewer who did not have much good to say about "Jessica" claimed that the ending was "silly". I don't think so. Life happens sometimes that way.
One final note: what else can be said about Humphrey Bower. He is utterly amazing, so many characters brought to life by Mr. Bower.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
By Louise on 05-10-07
Bryce Courtenay describes in vivid color the life of Jessica. She has many experiences that will make you cry and others laugh or smile.
Story opens circa 1914. Jessica lives with her evil and manipulative mom and older sis and loving dad. Their home is in the Bush country of Australia.
I ways celebrate a new Bryce Courtenay novel. And Humphrey Bower, in my opinion, is the very best narrator. Each character has a distinctive voice. And that makes the novel that much better.
This novel is very hard to put down and will haunt me for a very long time. Definitely will listen again.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful