Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.
In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey's wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families, one legitimate and the other bastard. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.
©1995 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2000 Bolinda Publishing Pyt Ltd by arrangement with Penguin Group (Australia)
"In the tradition of Charles Dickens, Courtenay creates a unique cast of characters from the outset of this epic novel....Humphrey Bower's performance is a marvel...making this one of those rare books with a sweep of characters the readers come to care about deeply." (AudioFile)
Potato Factory ranks amongst the top 5 books I've listened to. Ironically, two others are also written by Bryce Courtenay and read by Humphrey Bower. They are "The Price of One" and "Tania".
So many memorable moments! The crushing of Mary's hands by the jealous job seekers on the London wharves, the overseas journey in the women's slave boat, and the intrigue amongst the London thieves were fascinating and gripping at the same time.
Everything! His accents for the various characters bring the characters to life. His performance is amazing.
Yes, I found myself listening to it every moment I could carve free from my schedule.
Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower are a formidable team. I highly recommend three other Courtenay books, "The Power of One", "Tania", and the "Four Fires". You will be brought to laughter then tears and finally exclaiming out loud as you listen to these books.
The weaving of the tale that created Sperm Whale Sally
An amazing story teller
This book moved into my number one position right after The Power of One.
I really did like the narrator's version where he gave voice to the various people in the book.
I love historical novels and this one was really good.
Sperm Whale Sally
One of my favorites that blend history and character together
Mary Abacaus- one determined lady who proved she could use her brain as well or better than those who placed obstacles in her path
Izey Soloman-I could visualize him based on the story and the narrators portrayal of him
Pretty long, best broken down into sittings for me.
Very interesting to learn about the abject poverty faced by many.
Story and narration fantastic! Humphrey Bower,s powerful narration really does this wonderful story justice. Highy recommended
This author was able to evoke an image of a harsh times, evil characters and dreadful misfortunes in the spirit of a good Dickens novel, and still managed to retain a sense of hope, love and loyalty for these poor people. The narration was good and I enjoyed his ability to keep the characters distinct and easily identifiable.
An excellent portrait of the 19th era both depicting the criminal life of Dickensian London and then the new life at the Australian colony. Well intertwine real historical figures and believable fictitious characters. The narration is one of the best performance experience I had on audible
From any way you look at this I found this novel outstanding.The narration was exceptional , and the whole kept me hooked to listen through the night. sm
Maybe, although there are so many great books yet to be read/heard that I almost never give books a second listen. But it's certainly one of the books that I would return to if I did.
Unlike some of the other reviewers I've read, I enjoyed the book more and more as it moved onto the Australian continent. I also enjoyed the trial scenes, the pub scenes, the assorted low-lifes (most of the book's characters), the corrupt constables, the officious judges and unctuous lawyers, and, of course, the cameo appearance of Charles Dickens, Mr. Courtenay's literary forebear and creator of Fagin in Oliver Twist, the first fictional embodiment of the real-life Ikey Solomon, who also has a starring role in this novel.
He's truly the perfect narrator for this book. Great characterizations and reading throughout.
Sperm Whale Sally, although not if I had to pick up the check! She seemed like a woman of infinite good humor who could spin a good yarn or two herself.
I almost gave up on this book a few times near the beginning because of what seemed to me at the time to be gratuitous hardship and cruelty inflicted upon the female protagonist, Mary "Abacus." But I'm glad I stuck with the story. I'll be listening to the next book in the trilogy next.
I have never written a review before bur had to do so for this book. The story was interesting, the characters engaging, and I cannot say enough about Mr. Bower's performance. This is one of those times when I am glad I listened to rather than read the story. I was amazed by his mastery of a variety of accents and his ability to switch the tone of his voice to represent different characters. Sometimes that gets annoying or distracting and can be overly dramatic, especially when it is a male narrating a female. The only distracting thing about this book was how flawless the reader was. I am astounded.
The only reason I did not give 5 stars for the overall rating was because I felt sometimes the author went into too much detail, belaboured a point, or repeated himself. But this only happened a few times and I enjoyed listening to Mr. bower's voice so much I didn't even care!
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