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The Persimmon Tree (The Persimmon Tree #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  3,116 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews
The Persimmon Tree is unashamedly a love story. I've always wanted to write one but until now have been afraid to do so. The reason is simple enough: most men in my experience have very little idea of what really goes on in a woman's heart or head. Now, at the age of 74, I just might know enough and have sufficient courage to write on the subject – the way of a man with a ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Bolinda Publishing (first published June 5th 2007)
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Betty I honestly feel The Power of One was the best book I've ever read. Actually, I listened to on audible .. but still the most fulfilling book. I looked…moreI honestly feel The Power of One was the best book I've ever read. Actually, I listened to on audible .. but still the most fulfilling book. I looked forward to it each time I returned more than with any book.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Finally! I have found a book to break the 3-star slump I seemed to be in.

I have found a new author and new narrator. Bryce has a lot more novels to discover, and Humphrey Bower brings many of them to life with his fabulous command of accents.

The story has a little bit of everything. It is a romance, but not a mushy tale, of two young people separated by war when the Japanese invade Java. Nick sets sail for Australia expecting to meet Anna there. Anna, gets caught behind enemy lines and learns to
Aileen Cheatham
I actually listened to this book on my iPod. I downloaded it from The reader is really talented. He does every character with his/her own voice and accent. It's very easy to listen and follow. The story is good also; full of historical detail and an engaging plot. It's a long novel that felt almost like three separate books. The narrator, Nicholas Duncan, tells his own story and also the story of his love-interest, Anna van Heerden. It was a little jarring to hear Nicholas (Nick) te ...more
May 26, 2009 Victor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't done it yet, but will find mild pleasure in burning this book. And I won't feel like a Nazi.

I could only get 100 pages into this 600 page novel. From the heights of "The Power Of One" it just seems to me that Courtney has dissolved into ugliness.

A character, who you hope will be discarded very quickly within the novel is developed into a theme. A character who cannot speak English clearly (he speaks guttural slang, and is laboriously developed as a half-wit), is sad, downtrodden, subje
Robert Delikat
Jan 23, 2013 Robert Delikat rated it liked it
This is another one of those times when I agree with both the positive and negative reviews of a book. With a greater than 4 star rating, clearly the positive ones outnumber the negative. However, I always try to read the lower scoring reviews of any book I’m interested in to glean something valuable possibly missed by the popular audience. If you have not read it and are interested in this book you already enter with a preconception that you will probably enjoy reading it. I suggest that you re ...more
Feb 05, 2010 Jimba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Persimmon Tree was a good read and I think Courtnay is back in form, although it does have its flaws. The book was well researched and I enjoyed the Clavellian-style use of history to beef up the story - it being just as much a character in its own right. I found the characters a mixed bag: on the one hand I thought Courtenay nailed a few supporting characters spot on; on the other hand, however, I felt that Courtenay got a bit carried away while grooming the protagonist to the reader: there ...more
Nov 21, 2013 Ace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is there nothing Nick Duncan can't do? He's a wizz at school, a natural war hero, pulls chick's with just a smile and more more more. As usual with Bryce Courtenay, this is a big book, a huge story and a full cast. Never a dull moment, even for a butterfly collector.
It is 1942 and Nick Duncan is a butterfly collector, but a really manly one. He is shy, but in a really manly sort of way. He has never spent much time around woman, but in a manly sort of way. He can sail a yacht through a hurricane, in a manly sort of way.

This stuff is typical Bryce Courtenay. The writing and story is interesting enough to get hooked, but I did lots of eye-rolling, particularly as the main character was introduced. It really made me want to vomit, this is The Story Of Danny Du
This book started out as a 4 star book. It's historical fiction in the WWII years and since that is usually a tragic topic, I loved the author’s use of humor. It was no doubt funny.

The cover is absolutely beautiful. It screamed chick-lit to me and the cover even stated that it is a love story. I don’t dispute the love story claim, but you could tell it was certainly written by a guy. The male main character was just way too perfect. He always gets the girl, is always in the right place at the ri
Mar 09, 2010 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relieved my sister of this great honking huge (852 pages!) paperback before she even had a chance to read it. Courtenay is the author of the wonderful The Power of One set in South Africa, where he was born. The Persimmon Tree is set more in his adopted country of Australia where he has lived for years. It is the story of two star-crossed lovers during the second world war. Nick is the son of a Australian missionary who has spent most of his career in Japan and Indonesia. Anna is the daughter of ...more
The Cats Mother
I didn't enjoy this as much as I expected to - it's hard to pinpoint why - the story felt disjointed - his story, her story, then his story again, with large chunks of time missing. Neither main character was particularly believable, and the idea that a love forged in a few days could last all those years apart - particularly given Nick's subsequent behaviour, was just silly. I did like the supporting characters, particularly the Indonesians and the US Marines.
I don't particularly like war stori
Josh Taylor
May 19, 2012 Josh Taylor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible. Reading the book summary again I wonder why I thought I should read this... In hindsight, I was sucked in by the very good review rating on Amazon (which I use in addition to Goodreads' rating) and my love for epic, historically based fiction, probably stemming from my read of Shōgun by James Clavell.

Alas, I quit this one a little over halfway through, an extreme action I rarely take with books. I usually push through knowing that sometimes a book starts slow and then redeems itself la
Jun 02, 2010 Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has actually been sitting on my TBR shelf for about a year and a half now, so I figured it was about time to read it (plus there was the incentive that it fit into a challenge category here on Goodreads). I found it to be a typical Bryce Courtenay book, lots of vivid detail that makes you feel like you are experiencing both Nick and Anna's time during the way without leaving your bedroom. Although, it was a bit disconcerting when he used the vocal speech of Kevin Judge (who is a "Yank" ...more
Aug 02, 2011 Linh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
April 10, 2010
The mere size of this book made me avoid it, leaving it sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust for 6 months. It was a bit hard to get into at first as I imagined this daunting task of reading a giant book and let's face it, a giant book about love seems a little excessive. It turned out to be a tremendously interesting story spanning across an ocean and a war. It showed many contrasting views of the Pacific War; the view of a Japanese Colonel, an Australian Lieutenant fighting for
Charmaine Elliott
A consummate storyteller, book lovers have been robbed of a great author with the passing of Bryce Courtenay. This has to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read (listened to) in a long time. OK, so our hero suffers from the same goody - goody-ness and fantastical fabulosity as the hero in The Power of One, but if one skims through those cringy parts, this is a great story. Anna is a wonderful character and the tripping from Java to Australia, with the Japanese lurking in the background a ...more
Zelmer Wilson
Dec 19, 2014 Zelmer Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this novel with the expectation that I would like it, after reading two other of Bryce Courtenay's novels, The Power of One and Tandia. I wasn't disappointed. The plot is simple, two young people fall in love and then are separated by events beyond their control. In the case of Nick Duncan and Anna van Heerden, it is the approaching Japanese army that separates them. Both of these young people are great characters, both growing up and losing their innocence as they try to survive the ho ...more
May 06, 2013 Britany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Britany by: Ginny Tess
Shelves: audiobook, 500
WWII, Japanese invading and taking hostages in Java, Nick Duncan an aussie butterfly collector, and beautiful Ana, the blue eyed Dutch Javanese.

The Persimmon Tree goes back and forth between Nick and Ana's stories. They were separated during the war and you basically have to wait close to forever to figure out if they will EVER reunite or not.

Unfortunately, I got to a point where I didn't care about these characters, I didn't believe in the love story and frankly found it mostly unrealistic. To
Jun 15, 2009 Kimberley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theres not much I can say about this book.... except that I was a blubbering mess the whole way through! Cannot wait to read the sequel!
Not close to Courtenay's best. I found the characters to be superficial, stereotyped, and too similar to those in the author's other books. But the narrator was good and the story held my interest fairly well on some very long walks.

Nick falls in love with Anna when he is 17 and she is 16, while Nick is in Java hunting butterflies. It is the early days of WWII and the Japanese are about to invade the country. Anna's alcoholic father gives Nick a sailboat to sail to Australia while he and his fam
Jul 11, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I collect and read vintage 'popular press' English/Australian books - not the classics, you understand. So I think I understood what Courtenay was doing with 'the voice' of Nick. It's a style of speech that was usual at that time. Perhaps other readers found this jarring?

I loved Anna's story. For me, this was the heart of the book. Beautiful. Elegant. Fascinating insight into a dying way of life and class system. Nick's escapades were the secondary tale, although still interesting. (One wonders
Jul 29, 2014 Lina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great story teller! Courtney draws you in... , I felt like I cared for the characters even though the 50 shades of grey moments towards the end of the book really baffled me! I felt for Anna, she was so strong yet fragile, wise beyond her years and always a sense of purpose. I can just imagine what it must have been like in those days for her, the daughter of a half Dutch half Asian union. She is an island on to herself! I also enjoyed the references about the history of the Japanese occu ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Lindsay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, australian, z2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yvonne Sanders
Jul 14, 2015 Yvonne Sanders rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An eloquently written chronicle of the events of WWII in the Pacific and the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies. The war narratives were a bit longwinded, confronting and gruelling for me, but the unfolding personal journeys around the characters and their relationships, especially Nicholas and Anna provided compelling reading.
Linda Ostrom
Oct 07, 2010 Linda Ostrom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, series
This is a beautiful book and a beautiful story. It engages you right from the start and although I have never been a fan of war stories, this was one that was fantastic. The hero, Nick, was a young butterfly collector when he was in the tropics off Australia and the Japanese invaded.
Jody Ellis
Jul 18, 2016 Jody Ellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few words were very much overused, however this book proved to be entertaining, emotive and educational. I am much richer for reading this book.
Feb 27, 2017 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to give this book three stars because it isn't a bad book, but it was not an easy rating to give. It is a good story and has some very interesting stretches, but it is not a captivating enough story to be this long. I am not afraid of a long book, but there needs to be a good reason for it and this didn't have it. I kept choosing to listen (it was an audiobook) to anything but this. I have recently given myself permission to stop reading a book if I don't like it and I'm not sure why I st ...more
Oct 28, 2016 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my fav authors, Bryce Courtenay is at his best with describing the Pacific Islands and the war. As usual, his characters come alive and stay with you long after putting the book down. If this is his first attempt at a love story, well done! Too bad he didn't write more before his death.
Mar 05, 2017 Ann-maree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional read from the Master pen man and Author. A story woven in amazing and gripping intrigue, drama and sadness, ebbed with an adventurous frolic through time. Touching, gripping, superb.
Forrest Watkins
Mar 18, 2017 Forrest Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing too innovative, but a well-researched, well-told story
Dec 05, 2016 Rhona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, read-in-2016
Brilliant, loved every minute of this book. The narrator's accents were brilliant.
Kathy Murdoch
On and on and on and on and on it went. Disjointed and off topic constantly.
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Persimmon Tree by Bryce Courtenay 1 7 Jun 11, 2015 04:37PM  
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I was born illegitimately in 1933 in South Africa and spent my early childhood years in a small town deep in the heart of the Lebombo mountains.

It was a somewhat isolated community and I grew up among farm folk and the African people. At the age of five I was sent to a boarding school which might be better described as a combination orphanage and reform school, where I learned to box - though less
More about Bryce Courtenay...

Other Books in the Series

The Persimmon Tree (2 books)
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