Read Jessica by Bryce Courtenay Online


Jessica is based on the inspiring true story of a young girl's fight for justice against tremendous oddsA tomboy, Jessica is the pride of her father, as they work together on the struggling family farm. One quiet day, the peace of the bush is devastated by a terrible murder. Only Jessica is able to save the killer from the lynch mob – but will justice prevail in the courtsJessica is based on the inspiring true story of a young girl's fight for justice against tremendous oddsA tomboy, Jessica is the pride of her father, as they work together on the struggling family farm. One quiet day, the peace of the bush is devastated by a terrible murder. Only Jessica is able to save the killer from the lynch mob – but will justice prevail in the courts?Nine months later, a baby is born . . . with Jessica determined to guard the secret of the father's identity. The rivalry of Jessica and her beautiful sister for the love of the same man will echo throughout their lives – until finally the truth must be told.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....

Title : Jessica
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780143004615
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 676 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jessica Reviews

  • Patty
    2019-03-18 08:16

    If I could put a couple more stars on this one, I would. This is my all time favorite book! Courtenay can truly capture the grit and soul of a woman.

  • Joyce
    2019-03-18 07:00

    WOW! That was my first reaction to this book. It is sensational. It is on my list of "life-changing" books as it has helped me redefine what it means to live a successful life. Events beyond the control of Jessica alter the course of her life, but how she deals with it is truly inspiring. It proves that remaining true to yourself and your ideals will allow you to live the best life you can.Life may not give you everything you want, but how you deal with what it's given you speaks volumes about your character and your "success."

  • Kate
    2019-03-13 06:07

    I struggled with this story - mainly due to the way Jessica was being treated by her own family. For some reason the writing came a bit close to the bone. I skipped a few bits but persevered and finished feeling very benevolent towards Mr Courtney. Only to discover that he had recently died. Over the years I have had a very inconsistent attitude towards his books Matthew Flinders Cat is one of my all time favorites and of course there is a special place for The Power of One. Yet Tommo and Hawk and the Potato Factory were just a too difficult for me to get past the first chapter. Now posthumously I read about the man and understand a little more, he is clearly a gentleman and one to be admired. His gift for understanding the human condition was outstanding and his death a huge loss. For me the way he depicts alcoholism, racism and sexual proclivity have always been a source of admiration and I have the utmost respect for his honesty. Not surprisingly it appears he accepted his terminal illness as many of his fictional heroes did with dignity and grace, I take my hat off to such humbleness in one so talented.So thank you Mr Courtney for the memories Jessica will always be the book that bought his more challenging books (for me) and my favorites together in one place. Rest in peace......

  • Samira
    2019-02-25 09:01

    READ IT. One of the best books ever. I'm going to re-read it this summer <3

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-02-26 04:15

    Jessica is memorable vibrantly for not only its shocking story, but also its beautiful setting of rural Australia.

  • Sybarite
    2019-03-05 02:04

    For anybody who has ever tangled with hardship, heartache, pride, love, pain, losses, joy and sorrow, this book is for you. Seven years later I can remember almost every single thing about this novel, that is how much it stuck with me, the writing was magnificent and elegant, the plot- riveting and tantalising, the characters, enigmatic, engaging and all too powerful for their own good.One of my all time favourite novels, taking me on an incomparable emotional journey that will leave the reader feeling cathartic and de constructed, this is not a novel of happy endings, nor is it a melancholy Dickensian piece or a romantic novel, but one which transcends all realms and can only really be described as a vessel for the reader to be transported into the very vestibules of human nature.It explores the manners in which people will go to any extents to accomplish their goals, even if it means obliterating their supposed loved ones in the process, the reader can almost physically perceive the precariousness in which the most powerful human emotions can blend and bleed within each other, how love can all too often accommodate hate and intolerance, and ambition is all to easily the bedfellow of cruelty and ruthlessness. Get ready to have your heart in your throat for much of this novel, and don't expect much reconciliation or even karma, this is the cold harsh, unkind reality of life.

  • Teddie
    2019-03-18 09:21

    This is one of the finest novels I have read. It's based on a true story, takes place in Australia. Jessica is still well loved by the aborginal people. In the early days of the 20th century all aborginal children fathered by white men were taken away from their familys and given to whites to raise. This is Jessicas story..A young girls fight for justice against tremendous odds. A tomboy, Jessica is the pride of her father, as they work on the struggling family farm. One quiet day the peace of the bush is devastated by a terible murder. Only Jessica is able to save the killer from the lynch mob..but will justice prevail in the courts? Nine months later, a baby is born...with Jessica determined to guard the secret of the father's identity. The rivaly of Jessica and her beautiful sister for the love of the same man will echo througtout their lives-until the truth must be told. Set in the harsh Australian bush against the outbreak of world ww1, this novel is heartbreaking in its innocence, and shattering in its brutality.

  • Coco-chanel Young
    2019-02-27 08:29

    I am not one who takes to books that have a continuous theme of tragedy, and that is how I felt reading Jessica. It was exhausting to read. I kept waiting for something good to happen but only sadness, cruelty and unfairness were common in the book. There were so many things wrong as well as right. Joe really irked me. He was introduced as this headstrong character whom dominated the household, everybody seemed to respect and fear him in a way. I really took a liking to joe, If not initially a bit of a cold shoulder when he first hit Jessica In the face, giving her a black eye. It took a few pages until it was confirmed that joe wasn't the bad guy in this book. I liked his and Jessica's relationship, I am a fan of breaking the toughest of hearts and I liked seeing joes vulnerable side when he spoke of Jessica appreciatively and stood up for her. A very low moment for me was when joe gave into Hester! I mean honestly we had heard about joe having lived a tough life and he couldn't say no to cold murder when his wife pleaded him and then the submissive he became when he was forced to outcast Jessica. That all seemed a bit low and annoying. Someone With that kind of personality doesn't wear into the cruelty of his own wife. But apparently he does... Or did. I discarded joe after that. For all the good he may have tried after he realised how much of a prick he was he waited a little too late to set his wife in place and died whilst doing so! Which I was glad and sad about because no way joe could get back up on the ranks again. Jack was nearly one of my least favorite character. I LOVE a good romance, but there wasn't ANYTHING romantic about Jessica and jack. He cheated on her with her own sister, married her and then sat around whilst Jessica was in a mental asylum, and wrote letters about his worries. If he loved her a much as he claimed then he would have marched down to the hospital just as he had at the court house and seen Jessica face to face! Tried harder, fought harder to SEE HER, be with her! He makes me too angry to speak about him. I truly wish we had seen more dept to meg it got a bit boring her being described as the walking, talking shadow of her mother. No sister is that cruel or deranged. I wish Hester would have died very early on so we could have seen meg grow into her own person and see how she may have treated Jessica without her EVIL mother breathing down her neck. I am sure there would be a heart deep down somewhere even for a small apology. Character development goes a long way... The only character I truly liked was Jessica's lawyer, he may have been a drunk but he didn't have a bad intention in his body. I wish the had been more of a twist with Jessica's baby's fathers identity and at least one moment of true happiness for Jessica. The constant sadness and tragedy just gets depressive and tiring! I do have to say though the WAY that it was written, the sadness, badness and tragedy was very effective and constructive as this was one of those books that made you BEG for a miracle! Regardless of all the wrongs, this book made you feel SOMETHING and if it makes me feel something then it is already counted to me as a worthwhile good book!

  • Dolors
    2019-02-24 05:07

    I'm sorry to say that I haven't enjoyed this book as much as I expected. Comparisons are usually worthless, but I can't help but think of Courtenay's former novel, "The Power of One" and find that "Jessica" lacked originality and spirit. Whereas I loved Peekay and Doc and the way the story flowed, with its easy prose, written almost like a fairy tale, with strong conviction and hope; I wasn't drawn to Jessica or her problems. I thought she was a grown up woman when she has to deal with the sneaky ways of her family (it was hard to believe that a mother could be that evil) and I believe her supposed stubbornness to protect Jack is what mostly brought her to such a desolate destiny. Didn't feel sorry for Jack neither, who finally betrays her without a blink. And then, after all this unearned hardship, she has to earn the reader's respect in the last part of the book, where she fights for the rights of the Aborigines while helping black Mary Sympson to get her children back, although I have to admit that I was shocked by the end of the story and a bit shaken while reading the last pages.All in all, I found the novel a cheap copy of "The Power of One", the same topics are discussed: the unfairness of life, strong characters who fight for justice, racism (there's also some Jew characters who play an important role at the end of the novel), human rights and war. All theses issues are discussed in the book, which is fine, but not great if you have had the pleasure of reading his masterpiece before. It has to be really difficult to write something that good and then be able to create something better.

  • Debby
    2019-02-25 04:01

    Humphrey Bower is the primary reason I started listening Bryce Courtenay's books. His narration is so good, that he makes the characters come to life. I finished this book two days ago, and it still haunts me. Poor Jessica, yet she was a selfless character who took care of those in need. Her mother, I loathed that woman! She put the "W" in wicked. A mother could really be that heartless, and greedy, and conniving? Apparently so, if one is to believe this story is based on a true story. I can't find out who the real character is, though I tried. I'm not one to write reviews that includes a summary of the story. It's already there, when you read what the book is about. What I will say is that I'm usually not a fan of books with court trials. In this book, I felt the trials weren't long suffering. Jessica gave Billy Simple what little dignity he had left. For the second trial, to read about the plight of the Aborigine children who were taken from their families is heart-breaking. I thought that the trial was well-written, and I found myself smiling at how foolish the government was made to look. The ending is heart-breaking. I was so sad, and yet I was dying to know who the father of Jessica's child was. I wish that Jessica's mom and sister had a demise of sorts, but that was left hanging... I thoroughly enjoyed this story as I did White Thorn. This one, though, left me grieving for Jessica's sad life, and I needed to take a few days off before jumping into my next book. I'm a serial book reader, for sure. Well, an audible book listener, is more what I should say. Great story.

  • Laura Buechler
    2019-03-02 06:16

    I am really surprised to see so many reviews here of Jessica (the character) being held up as such a positive role model, and Jessica (the book) being hailed as such a fantastic read. It is one of the weakest Bryce Courtenay books I have read. I think Courtenay made his characters too flat and one-dimensional, and in particular his portrayal of Meg and Hester veered into soap opera territory. The final section of the book, which is largely taken up by a court case to do with the Aboriginal Protection Act, seems to have very little to do with the rest of the story. That said, I would have gladly read an entire book on that subject, especially if it were historically accurate (I'm doubtful that any cases ended the way Mary's did in the book).On the whole, I was disappointed in this book. It seemed like Courtenay's central mystery - the origins of Jessica's child - got swept under the rug about halfway through, and only mentioned very briefly as an afterthought, with no space to ponder the consequences of this fact and the repercussions throughout the family's future. It just kind of petered out.

  • Charlotte
    2019-03-05 04:01

    The most depressing book I have ever read, I read this many years ago and it still gives me nightmares. I kept waiting for it to get better but I really shouldn't have finished reading this book. If I could erase one book from my brain, this would be the one.

  • Matt
    2019-02-23 03:20

    A stellar novel I will have to read again to write a thorough review for all who read them here!

  • Jill Smith
    2019-02-27 06:01

    Jessica is ‘A striking and … moving story’ the Age extract on the cover announces, and it is. Moreover, I found in this work the character remarkably real, the Australian land she lives in powerfully described and very satisfying. This strong young woman comes to life vividly without the aid of contrived mannerisms Courtenay had used in earlier books for his central characters.Her life is hard and yet she is likable and loving, thoughtful and caring, isolated but not alone. She copes with her fathers’ silent love and her mother and sisters rejection of her existence when she is pronounced guilty of committing an unpardonable sin. Ultimately Jessica is sinned against, in a far more vile way, by her own family as they use her dilemma to their own advantage.Rather than finding the ending tragic, and yes I did weep, I found it uplifting. The plot is triumph over adversity, a beautiful young woman who quietly achieves a great deal in a short time affecting many people while being giving of herself along the way.I have to add, this is one of the few Courtney books I have enjoyed, many others have disappointed me with tragic with endings involving horrible deaths.

  • Jill
    2019-03-16 05:26

    My god, it has been ages since i read this book but I still carry the scars. I don't think I have ever cried so much during a book. Okay maybe a few times, i am a bit of a cry baby. However, this book wassad because nothing ever got fixed and then she dies. It screamed of injustices, come on how much can a person go through before she just gives up! It has stayed with me because of the unfairness dealt to Jessica, why? I wanted to and did scream this at the book on many occasions. Alot happens in this book,it stirs up feelings and opinions about many topics, the stolen generation in australia for one. Even though this book was sad I did read and enjoy it, but if you like a happily ever after you are not going to get it from the tale.

  • M.j. Croan
    2019-03-04 05:20

    A fascinating account of two women’s (mother and daughter) determination to gain wealth, and respectability at any cost. Lies, forgery, murder, abduction and a fake pregnancy all conspire to rob their daughter, and sister of her child. But Jessie, their victim is a fighter. With an assortment of oddball friends and social outcasts, she fights back, not just against her own sister and mother, but against a government policy that tries to breed black out of its indigenous peoples. Set against the baron squalor, and racial prejudice of the Australian outback before, during, and post world war one ‘Jessica’ is based on real events. A must read.

  • Rogerio
    2019-03-13 07:12

    The story of Jessica Bergman is set in countryside Australia around 1910. She grows up helping her father, Joe and learning the life in the rural area, a very harsh one, encompassed by drought, lack of money and the constant danger of poisonous snakes. That is not the fate of Jessica's sister, though, Meg. She is her mother's preferred child and is spared to be a lady and marry a rich guy. She is also more beautiful and educated than Jessica. She learns the house work rather. For need of money Joe and Jessica get a job at the richest family in the village during the shearing season, and Jessica who is better than a boy at working, happens to work together with the 2 rich boys that Meg has always been after, Jack and Billy. They become good friends silently and Jessica wins their heart with her simplicity and friendship. Without realizing she is also stealing Jack's heart and will cause havoc at home ruining her sister's (and mother's) plan. It is to defend her from the boys that worked in the shearing shed that Billy challenges them to a fight. He is strong, but is caught by surprise and an accident happens with Jack's horse stepping on his head. He will not die, but he will lose his mind for good and will be abused by his own sisters and mother, spoilt brets in the rich house. One day Billy, now called Billy Simple for his condition will take a revenge and kill the mother and the 2 sisters. His escape leads him to Jessica's house. She learns from him what happened and helps him escape the lynch from a mob, delivering him to the magistrate in Naranderra. She almost dies in the attempt and is Jack ahead of the mob that takes care of her for a couple of days. Billy will be sentenced to death but Jessica wins both the admiration and the suspect of having more than a friendship with Billy, especially when she finds to be pregnant some months later. She is banished and a gossip that she is mad is spread by her sister and mom. Meg, meanwhile tries to trap Jack by making love to him and forcing him to marry her, pretending to be pregnant. As Jack is leaving to the war in Europe he does marry Meg but promises his heart to Jessica. Meg tries to fake a miscarridge in front ot the Church old organist unware of a letter from Jack's uncle especifying the conditions of the wedding. They end up having to kill the witness as the plan does not work and Meg goes on with the fake pregnancy. Jessica meanwhile has been banished from the house and will deliver her baby alone. The same day, Joe dies and in the funeral, Jessica's baby is said to be Meg's and due to her aggressive reaction she is sent to a mental institution.Well here the book takes a turn. Di the author not know how to continue and how to close up the drama? Jessica will meet some new people, a jewish who will help her and also contact Billy's case lawyer to help her get part of the benefits that Meg stole through Jack's marriage. Jack died in the war. After 4 years in the mental institution she is freed and goes back to the old home, happens to burn it down and moves to the hat by the creek where she delivered the baby. There what unfolds is a tale of help to the Aboriginal woman Mary Simpson who wants her kids back through some court cases. I found this development very odd. It seemed like the author did not have the inspiration to continue the original story, or...what? It is odd that the author sort of writes the first half of the book in a soap opera fashion, then abandones the style altogether and makes the book become a sort of court case story of Aboriginal (who, by the way was not linked at all with the first half of the book), then closes it with a link to the romantic section: In the last page, Jessica simply dies by a snake bite and we got to know that her son was Jack's. The author spent so much time building Jessica's strong character and she never even went to her mother and sister to get a go at them. The second half of the book departs from the previous. When the fake miscarridge happens, the chapter ends with "because of this, xxxx will happen for the next 50 years to come"... but that isn't what the book will tell. It looks like two different books in one. I would not recommend it.

  • Laura
    2019-02-24 01:10

    I have loved some of Courtenay's work (The Power of One, and Brother Fish) and I have been ambivalent about some of his work (Fishing for Stars). But this was one of the most depressing books I have ever read. It's so many pages of life just getting worse and worse. The poor protagonist gets beaten down time after time and things keep getting worse, and you hope, "hey, there must be some redemption eventually, this book's darn long enough." But no. Things get worse. Then she dies. It was awful. Now I don't mind sad endings, or challenging reads, dealing with hard material, but this book takes the cake for the relentless abuse of character and reader without any light at the end of the tunnel. I would not recommend this. I hoped that would be the end of it.ALAS, not so long ago, a friend of mine texted me this:"So I am reading 'Jessica' because you said it might be worth a read." I most certainly did not, but that aside, he went on saying "I need to know, does it have a happy ending? I'm going to quit if it doesn't have a happy ending. *feeling super angry*" And with those words, it all came flooding back to me. The powerless anger of seeing Jessica mercilessly abused and hoping and hoping things would turn around for her. I know life doesn't always have happy endings, but it is painful to see only the dark side. Needless to say I disabused him of the idea of there ever being a happy ending and that I had ever encouraged a single reader to undertake the dark and fruitless journey that is the reading of Jessica. Stick to pretty much ANYTHING else Courtenay has read. But not Jessica. Never Jessica.

  • Kathleen Hagen
    2019-03-05 08:23

    Jessica, by Bryce Courtenay, Narrated by Humphrey Bower, Produced by Bolinda Audio, Downloaded from love Courtenay’s vast sweeping epics about Australia, and no one narrates them better than Humphrey Bower. This one is about Jessica, a girl who was raised almost as a boy because her father had no sons. She preferred being outdoors to learning the charm school virtues of feminity in the early 1900’s. She grew up to be her father’s right-hand “man” and only with her help was he able to farm and keep enough income to keep the family goin. She was in love with the neighbor boy, Jack, Thomas, the son of the richest sheep station owner in the region, and Jack was in love with her. But her mother and sister planned from early childhood that Jack should marry her sister, Meg, and Meg would be the lady of River Station. Meg and their mother tricked him into marrying Meg by saying Meg was pregnant. Then Meg, who was not pregnant, stole Jessica’s baby when he was born and raised it as hers and Jack’s. Jessica was an outcast from her family and from the community because she dressed like a man, raised animals and farmed like her father, was independent, and, most of all, because her friends and neighbors were the aboriginal people, whom she helped and defended at every possible moment. This is a book about the time from the end of the 19th century to about 1929. As with Courtenay’s other epics, I was sorry to see it end.

  • Kelly Moffatt
    2019-03-03 02:06

    I read this book because my friend highly recommended it as one of her favourite books of all time. Unfortunately I do not share that sentiment. I was utterly disappointed. I kept waiting for the story to get better but it was so utterly depressing. The way Jessica was treated by her family was disgusting and just left me feeling disgusted most of the book. It also frustrated the hell out of me that I didn't know who the father of her child was until the end... I felt this was the only way the author had to keep the reader interested to finish the book. As it was written from her perspective I think it was stupid that she didn't share who the father was when it happened. Just a tragic story and I'm not sure why it was so fantastic that it had to be shared? It's not like she triumphed and lived an amazing life after all the tragedy... she just died. I would not recommend this unless someone wants to read a very depressing story.

  • Polina
    2019-03-06 07:10

    Another classic by Bryce, I was not able to put it down and read all night long until 7 am, I can't remember any other book that would captivate me so. The story is as enthralling as it is sad and cruel, I can not believe it is actually based on a true events, which makes it even more heart breaking.Courtenay, style is at its best: the characters are alive and jump at you from the pages, the realities of life are harsh and at the same time poetically depicted. He has drawn an excellent picture of Australian outback.Bryce is hands down my favorite author and if you loved any of this other books you must definitely read this one. If you have never read any of this other books, Jessica is a great introduction to his style and you will undoubtedly become a fan just like me.

  • Julia
    2019-03-21 08:13

    This is the 2nd Courtenay book I've read. I loved his "The Power of One," and picked this one up at our Library book sale for $2.Courtenary says he bases this book on the real life of a young Australian woman who fought hard for social justice issues, which defied the conventions of her time. This story is full of mean spirited people, deceit, theft, physical hardships and murder. This book backs up the saying "life is hard, and then you die." Numerous times I looked up from the book and just said "really?" Even though I saw a number of inconsistancies in the story, and felt it was a bit over the top in its believability, I still found it readable and entertaining.

  • AmyLyn
    2019-03-13 01:26

    I went back and forth about this book. There were times when the writing was really good and the story was rich. There were other times when it just seemed way too long. If you're looking for another Power of One, then this book will be a disappointment. If there were half stars I might be tempted to go with 3 1/2 stars. I'm trying to think what to write and really it was such a strange meandering story, so tragic in places, predictable many times but then a beautiful surprise would freshen the narration. I don't know. I'll have to think on this one a bit more.

  • The Cats Mother
    2019-03-04 07:17

    This is an emotionally draining book about a feisty Australian girl who lives in the NSW bush with her poor farming family in 1914. Her mother has planned to marry her beautiful older sister off to the rich local landowners son, but when he is sent off to fight in WW1 a terrible conspiracy is hatched. I don't want to give too much away, as part of the power of the book is the way Jessica deals with what is thrown at her. It's supposed to be based on a true story - although I'm not sure which part. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I read it.

  • Megan
    2019-02-22 02:09

    This was definitely a page-turner, but more because I was traumatised and angered at what happened to the main character Jessica, and kept turning the pages hoping to find a resolution, the happy ending. Regardless of which way that went, it was one of those books so full of description that I was initially put off, until I realised that I could actually visualise the entire landscape, village and people as if I had been there myself. And that's when you realise what a fabulous writer Bryce Courtenay is.

  • TraceyGass
    2019-02-25 03:28

    I love this author so much! He has a way of creating a story that totally sucks you in so that you can't put it down. I loved this story. It is humbling to read of other peoples hardships and complete determination and makes me wonder what I would do or have done in similar life circumstances? I was crying at the end and to me that makes a really good story when you are so involved in the characters life that you feel like you have lost them.

  • Jess
    2019-03-21 09:30

    I read this after watching the mini-series on TV. I'm not usually one for any of this "Australian drama", anything with an outback setting and what not, but this book was just amazing. I could not put it down. I read it again as soon as I was finished, I loved it that much. I cried at the end both times. It's not my normal type of book by any stretch, but I'd still recommend it to everyone. Just a really great book.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-09 03:02

    I loved this book. I first read it more than 10 years ago and I still often think about certain parts because it touches on themes I hadn't considered before. The ending is perfect (in my opinion).

  • Nancy
    2019-03-18 09:23

    One of my favorite books of all time.

  • Gerald Camp
    2019-03-12 05:02

    Not as good as The Power of One. Lots of cliches and lots of padding, but the main character kind of got to me. Courtenay could have found a better ending, I think.