No. 18 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time
by Clayton Wehner - December 7th, 2010
At #18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay
25.1% of all respondents have read this book
Synopsis for Jessica by Bryce Courtenay
Jessica is a historical novel based on fact by Bryce Courtenay. It was published in 1998 and like other works from this author covers several years in the life of the main character: Jessica Burgman. It was adapted into a mini-series starring Leeanna Walsman and Sam Neill which aired on Australian television in 2004.
Jessica is based on the inspiring true story of a young girl’s fight for justice against tremendous odds. A 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.
About Bryce Courtenay (Books by Bryce Courtenay…)
Arthur Bryce Courtenay AM (born 14 August 1933) is a South-African-born naturalised Australian novelist and one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors.
Born in Johannesburg, Courtenay spent most of his early years in a small village in the Lebombo Mountains in South Africa’s Limpopo province. In 1955, while studying journalism in London, Courtenay met his future wife, Benita, and eventually emigrated to Australia. They married in 1959 and had three sons, Brett, Adam and Damon.
Courtenay now lives in Bowral, New South Wales, with his partner, Christine Gee.
His novels are primarily set in either Australia, his adopted country, or South Africa, the country of his birth. His first book, The Power of One, was published in 1989 and, despite Courtenay’s fears that it would never sell, quickly became one of Australia’s best-selling books by any living author. The story has since been made into a film—as well as being re-released in an edition for children.
Courtenay is one of Australia’s most commercially successful authors. He has built up this success over the long-term by promoting himself and developing a relationship with readers as much as marketing his books; for instance, he gives away up to 2,500 books free each year to readers he meets in the street.
Despite his success in Australia, only The Power of One has been published in the United States. Courtenay claims that this is because “American publishers for the most part have difficulties about Australia, they are interested in books in their own country first and foremost”.
The List so far…
#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan
#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton
#23 – Breath by Tim Winton