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The Persimmon Tree (The Persimmon Tree #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,461 ratings  ·  218 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

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Josh Taylor
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
Sep 26, 2014 Britany rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zelmer Wilson
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 innocent as they try to survive the hor ...more
Heidi Kennedy
I don't think I've ever been this harsh on a book before. This is the first Bryce Courtenay that I have read, and I now feel obliged to read another one, just to see if someone who wrote so many best-sellers wrote them all in the same two-dimensional vein.

I started off being drawn in to what felt like it was going to be a big sweeping historical drama/romance. But I was disappointed.

Courtenay's portrayal of the two central characters Nick and Ana itched away at me like insect bites. Nick becaus
Caroline Hayes
A completely new take on WWII after having read so many memoirs on the Holocaust, and the European role before, during, and after the war. This piece sheds light on the war as it affected the Southeast Asian region of Java, now known as Indonesia, and it follows a Dutch family from a month before the Japanese invasion of the area in 1942 to the end of the war in 1945. It tells the tale of two young lovers who after planning their flee from Java to Australia find themselves separated due to her u ...more
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
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!
This review is for the audiobook version narrated by Humphrey Bower.

I feel somewhat conflicted about this book. Bryce Courtenay is a phenomenal storyteller, and much of this book was extraordinarily engrossing. Humphrey Bower is a fantastic narrator (although his American accents leave something to be desired).

5 stars for the narration, 4.5 stars for the writing, 2 stars for the plot

(view spoiler)
Jenn Blunstone
As with all BC books, this one is somewhat epic, covering a period in time where so much happened to say many people. BC deals with the massive amount of potential material by limiting the experiences to very few characters, so that the story develops into an intimate, very personal account of the times. I'm not a historian so know very little about how accurate the storyline is compared with reality, but I don't really care. It is a moving, gentle, considered story of two young people and how t ...more
There is no doubt that Bruce Courtney is a great story teller. He unashamedly paints his characters larger than life. In fact James Bond could be one of his characters. I also have an issue with his assumptions which at times are quite arrogant.
However in The Persimmon Tree we have an absorbing story which takes place during WW2 in the Pacific and Middle Eastern area. As I am very interested in history I found this to be very interesting. He has done a prodigious amount of research and intertwin
Jeffrey Rasley
This is a great sweeping historical novel by one of Oz's best writers about the experiences of 2 teenagers who survive WWII in the Pacific theater. The history seems authentic. What happens to Nick & Anna, and what they do to cope and survive, is moving and surprising. My only criticism is that they each hold on to their naivete and ingenuousness long after they have each become hard enough to kill for survival, friends or country. But, perhaps Chip Hilton still survives as a real possibilit ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Persimmon Tree, by Bryce Courtenay, narrated by Humphrey Bower, produced by Bolinda Audio, downloaded from

Here is another sweeping saga from Bryce Courtenay.The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and
the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the
Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of get
Three 1/2 stars!! I do like this author. He is talented and although it isn't as good as the power of one, it was worth the read. His characters are developed and real. I didn't like all of them. I didn't like the "Little Bloke" from America because he had terrible grammar and he swore too much for me. So if you don't like the F word used often, be ware. ***stop here for spoilers*** The book is broken into four parts and tells the love story of a young boy butterfly collector who is the son of a ...more
Nick is a young man with the unusual hobby of butterfly collecting. As he searches for a particular species of butterfly in Java in 1942, he meets Anna, a young lady of Dutch and Javanese heritage. When Nick realizes the Japanese are quickly invading the islands in the South Pacific, he is unable to book passage on a freighter. Anna’s father asks him to sail his boat to Australia. Through maritime knowledge, determination and luck he manages to return to Australia. There he joins the navy, becom ...more
Paul Kassell
What started as a spell-binding read, turned into a disappointment. The description of Nick's journey to Australia was gripping and well written.

Once he arrives in Australia the story takes on a boys own quality with racial stereotypes of most characters used as a canvas to paint the story of Nick's war exploits. I was reminded more than once of my childhood comic Victor, and their descriptions of "Nips" shouting "Banzai!". Our hero is too good to be true. However, as a yarn it would have been
Courtney always did his homework, and the rich attention to history is what makes his books so interesting.

On the downside, I'm starting to learn that he only really has two characters: the rugged, "can do", courageous man of action, and the resourceful, sexy, worldly-wise yet somehow innocent woman. Both are clever, natural leaders, and look after those they call their own. We see these characters, with various names and physical descriptions, in book after book.

(view spoiler)
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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...

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