Book twenty-eight in 2012 – “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay

I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely outside the norm for me, but it was recommended by the same person who recommended “The Given Day” and I loved that one, so I didn’t hesitate on getting “The Potato Factory”. I’ve already begun the next book in the Australian trilogy.

I’ve never read anything by Bryce Courtenay before, but I will be checking out his other work once I finish the Australian Trilogy. Courtenay wrote this trilogy as a thank you to Australia when he realized there was no real works of historical fiction written about Australia. I love historical fiction, so this was another draw to this book once I heard about it.

The book follows the family of Ikey Solomon who was a real person back in the 1800’s, the time period this book is set. Ikey’s family ends up in Australia, punishment for crimes committed. Ikey is a cunning wretch of a man who I couldn’t help liking. I find myself saying, “my dear” a lot, hearing Ikey saying it in my head.

The main female character, Mary Abacus, goes through things I could never imagine. This is one of those books that sucks you in so deeply that you have a physical reaction to things the characters must endure. This book is definitely not for the weak of heart. It made me extremely grateful to be living in this age and not that one. I used to romanticize living in the 1800’s but I don’t think I would have survived unless I had been one of the privileged.

There’s no way to know if I would have enjoyed this book as much had I not listened to the audio version of it. I think it’s safe to say that the narrator Humphrey Bower, is the best I’ve heard in my four years of being limited to audio books. He is incredibly talented! I’ve had my favorite narrators but for the most part I’ve enjoyed the ones who don’t try and create characters because usually this tends to be overdone in adult books. Humphrey Bower however, literally sounds like different people. In this book he has to read in several different accents and he does each brilliantly. His female characters actually sound like women! In audio books it is so important not to drone on or overdo things and Bower nails it. I’m so grateful he does the whole trilogy and I think he’ll be a narrator I actually pick books from. I’ve never shopped by narrator, but that’s how much I like him.

“The Potato Factory” was just so good. It was nice and long too, which I like. I’m glad the other two books are already available on Audible so I don’t have to wait. So far the second book does not disappoint!

“Always leave a little salt on the bread.” – Ikey Solomon

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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