Wife, mom, full-time employee, food blogger... reading is my addiction. I love audible books during my commutes and doing chores!
I've downloaded the unabridged audible version of almost all of Bryce Courtenay's books. The primary reason is that Humphrey Bower is one of my favorite audible book narrators. He makes a story come alive with his uncanny ability to change accents, and even makes me believe I'm hearing a woman's voice. As for the story-- this one is very epic. I had just finished listening to "Jessica" which is one of the saddest stories I've heard in a long time. With this book, I found the Maloney family to be fascinating. Nancy, as the feisty mom, is a woman I grew to admire as the fought to make sure her kids were given every opportunity to make something grand of their lives. She wanted them to have a better life than she did. Rough as she was, around the edges, I admired her devotion to her children. I've noticed a repeating theme, with the author's books-- the Christian characters are often portrayed as hypocrites, and misguided in what Christianity is all about. I notice this, because I'm a Christian. I won't get into my religious beliefs/views, except to say that not all Christians are hypocrites. So, it saddens me to see a rather unfavorable view of Christians...though, I have no doubt there are plenty of evil people who go to church. Moving on... I'm a bit of a girly-girl, so I have a tough time reading about war and torture and gore. So, when Tommy finally reveals the story of his time as a prisoner (and this is not a spoiler, because you know it's coming), I found his story to be like a train wreck. I wanted to look away) albeit, fast forward. Yet, I listened to it. It's heart-breaking, to be reminded about prisoners of war, and the suffering they endured. Yet. we need to be reminded.
I'm sad that Bryce Courtenay has passed away, and there will be no more of his books to read/listen to. I've never been to Australia, so his stories are my armchair to traveling the world. Well done, Mr. Courtenay. Thank you.
I read like a madwoman all my life but now I have bad eyes. Thank goodness for audio books
The narrator is so good if you have bad eyes like I do you won't need the print version. You will love it.
I liked everyone in the family. This family really sticks together and at the same time you get to listen to some of the history of Australia. Since that country started a lot like ours I have always been interested in it. Must read for a historical novel lover like I am.
This is a good narrator. I have loved him since I listened to the Power of One.
The author has a way of making the characters come to life. There are so many places for despair and triumph it is hard to stop reading it.
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.
More for Australians than anything else. This is small town Australia, warts and all. Loved the performance, loved the story.
In the top with most of Bryce Coutenay's books.
When Mike and Sarah make a presentation to the elderly fashion designer who is out of touch with her world.
When Nancy was dying and gave the new alb to the parish priest.
I love Bryce Coutenay's books especially read by Humphrey Bowers. He is a phenomenal reader who makes the characters come alive in stories that may be fictional but contain a wealth of history and human pathos and living.
Well Done. The performance added depth to the characters.
Epic good read. Memorable Characters who drew forth great emotion. I found myself laughing out loud, enraged and near tears at different points in the novel. Not many authors can draw me into such emotional responses. Very well written!
Definitely. It is a story of the triumph of family and friendship, it doesn't get much better
Sarah's pregnancy and struggle to get into medical school after being abandoned by the child's father.
The gathering of the family and the local catholic priest before Nancy's death. She had to have things her way, up until the end. After all of the fuss between her and the priest, over all of the choices she had made during her life, it was good to see them come together toward the end.
Wouldn't change a thing.
Loved the book. The narration by Mr. Bower is always excellent, he has magic in his voice that brings the characters to life.
The authors "Australia Trilogy" is celebrated as his "love letter to Australia," but I found this book to be at least as much so. Like every Courtenay book I have read, it is populated with interesting and charming characters.Courtenay's love of language and dialect comes out in the dialog, and is masterfully conveyed by Humphrey Bower as narrator, whose performance ranks with Jim Dale in the Harry Potter books. The book does not have the epic sweep, however, of some of Courtenay's other books. I thought the story was good but not great and the story and narrative devices did not hang together enough for a 5 star rating.
How would I know ...
He is wonderfully talented. They are all good.
A little too much of Viet Nam.
I think I might listen to all books by the author, as well as this narrator. Both are superior.
I hated for the story to end.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Bryce Courtenay can tell a good story. Four Fires weaves the story of the Maloney family (of Australia, of course) with historical facts of WWII Japanese prison camps, brush fires, Auschwitz, the Australian garment industry and women's rights...among other things!
I don't gravitate to historical fiction...but I have always enjoyed the combination of Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower and will continue to turn to this pair if I want to be sure I'm getting a book I'll enjoy!