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)
I'm going from chapter to chapter in life. Some are definitely better than others!
The book has many intertwining characters, which as the story progressed I wanted to learn of their next difficulty or triumph. At times it was hard to sort out, or remember, what was what and whom was benefiting or harming whom, because of the length of the book. However by the end it all made sense.
There were a couple of times I thought about abandoning my listen, but I'm glad I stuck it out. I may even listen to book 2 after a break.
I cannot say whether the audio is better than the printed version as it's years ago I read the book.
I highlty recommend this audio book to everyone. This is the first review I have written. The audio book was hard to pause. Humphrey Bower is an amazing narrator. He covered so many different voices. I really fealt like I was there witnessing the story. I'm a Bryce Courtenay fan, so I knew I'd like the story, I had just never listened to his books on audio before. I'm hooked. If anyone asked me to recommend a book to try audio I would recommend this one. I was captivated from the very beginning right to the end. I have now downloaded Tommo & Hawk and hope it's as captivating & good narrating as the potato factory.
One of the best! I really enjoyed it. There were parts that made me cry and some that made me laugh out loud too! I enjoyed a good laugh a few times when things went haywire for the characters. Great read if you enjoy reading about how things were in the 1800 in good olde England and then on to Australia. What a hard life the lower middle class led at that time. How dirty the people were, seems like they never bathe and how horrible the children were treated by the grown-ups. Still the truth is in the print when it comes to how things were. Thank you Bryce.
Mary Abacus was so strong and intelligent. She would have fit in great in today's society. She overstepped her bounds in the life of olde England. She paid dearly for this and I cried for her. She is my Heroin of the trilogy.
I was so saddened by the passing of Bryce Courtenay. I read about his life and short fight against cancer. I have read all his books and the only one I didn't care for was "Sylvia" and that was because the orator made me cringe when she spoke. I believe that would have been a good book if read aloud by another person.
Bryce Courtenay is one of my favorite writers. Very sorry to hear of his death. Every book I have read or listen too I have given five stars. Original well written entertaining with great characters.
As always, Bryce Courtenay is wonderful He never ceases to amaze me.. as well, Humphrey Bower ....what a team. Wish there were more writers like this man.... everything else seems dull in comparison. I will miss his writing :(
When the twins went missing and their birth.
Yes. This one was good. He is a really good reader.
I've been an audio book fan for years and years, since borrowing Books-on-Tape from my local library, buying cassettes from BOT, then migrating to Audible eight years ago. My audio library has become extensive. But still waiting for James Michener's work to get over here.....
This book was a nice surprise. It popped up as a personal suggestion based on my past
Audible purchases. The author wrote this historical novel almost 20 years ago as part one of a trilogy, and covered a topic I had not previously come across, I.e. the settlement of the Australian continent. The story begins in Dickens-era London, and then moves to the island today known as Tasmania, after the main characters get “transported” to the British penal colony following court convictions. Charles Dickens makes a cameo appearance as a reporter covering the trial in London, interviewing a street urchin who tells him his name is Artful Dodger. I enjoyed this book very much, and found myself really caring for the story’s characters, including some unsavory ones who battled their flaws and demons throughout. I can’t wait to start on part two of the trilogy. Good thing I bought a year's worth of credits!
Yes, it's just too depressing and violent.
The violence. it's also a slow moving story.
No, it is too bigotted against religion and too full of a man's fantasy of what women want and feel.
The most interesting part was the history. The least interesting was the story.
Not for me. I didn't finish listening to the whole story.
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