So sad that there will be no more books from this man. I have so enjoyed all of his narratives. He writes in language that allows me to really "see" the story as well as hear it.
I loved both Power of One and Brother Fish so Jessica was a disappointment. The relationships were underdeveloped, the characters unrealistic, and the story could (should) have been broken up into two books. It is hard to swallow there could be so many evil women out there... in one place... mothers and sisters no less. The only happy moments seemed to pop out of no where and without developing a vested interest in the outcome. Humphrey Bower was, as always, 5 stars! Jessica is 2 stars at best.
This is my first Bryce Courtenay book, and wow, can he spin a yarn. I enjoyed the hours of sturdy storytelling, and the narrator's voice (although painful at times for Billy Simple and Jessica's whispered "no's!"). However, I didn't expect the last third of the book to go where it did (SPOILER!!!)...the aborigine rights...thought it might concentrate more on where the first of the book led up to: Jessica's baby...that story line completely fizzled. I don't need a nice happy ending, but it just seemed a little disorienting. Nevertheless, I look forward to further exploring the works of this author based on other reviews!
The author set up the main character Jessica quite well and before the story really began, you're able to have a vivid picture of Jessica and her family, her town, etc. I was enthralled with this book for the first half: the tragedy, the love triangle, the heartbreak, all so captivating. Then it kinda went off in all different directions. No more romance, family is out of the picture. Is it a story about Australian civil rights? Her building a new life....... I dunno. I see this is based on a true story and I think the real Jessica must have been a pretty unique individual with a great life story and I can understand the desire to shove all her amazing experiences into the story, but it made me connect with the story a lot less than I would have otherwise. with that said, I still did enjoy it and I think it's worth a credit or purchase. Just don't get too attached to what you think it's going to be about in the beginning.
I was very disappointed by "Jessica". I did listen to the whole book, but it hurt the last several hours. It is very dreary and hopeless.
Bryce Courtenay generally spins a good yarn. I've enjoyed his books up to now. "Jessica" falls sadly short of the mark made by his trilogy. The first half of Part 1 and the last half of Part 3 are tolerable. Fast forward through most of the rest of it and you won't miss much. I wasn't uplifted, I wasn't enchanted, I was annoyed, bored and dissatisfied. Nineteen hours of soap opera is not my idea of a good book. "Jessica" earned two stars because I save my one star ratings for books I couldn't even stand long enough to fast-forward to the end. This book earned two stars because I managed to grit my teeth and finally get to the end of this sluggish, predictable melodrama.
I have become a great fan of BC and his narrator Humphrey Bower. Jessica was not as good as The Power of One but better than Matthew Flinder's Cat. I was fully immersed in this book and laughed/cried in places as he makes the characters come alive. This book is definitely worth the price of a credit.
A brilliant novel is in there somewhere and with the help of a good editor and a few more revisions I think it could have been uncovered. A lot of the dialogue rings false and the characters get extremely wearisome. If soap operas are your thing this is right up your alley.
I have enjoyed several other novels written by Bryce Courtenay. "The Power Of One" is brilliant, and I quite enjoyed "The Potato Factory" and "Solomon's Song" but could have done without "Tommo and Hawk" in the trilogy. Courtnenay's writing concerning The Battle of Gallipoli was insightful and moving in "Solomon's Song."
The formation of Australia is obviously close to the author’s heart and in this case I think he let his hart guide his pen a bit too much.