Feb 12, 2014

Book Review: The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

THE FEVER TREE by Jennifer McVeigh
Berkley Trade Paperback Reprint; February 4, 2014
Genre: historical fiction, romance
A huge acacia spread its shade over one side of the house.
"The fever tree," Edwin said, following her gaze. "The farm is famous for it."
 (ch. 20)
My comments: The author notes that thousands of native people and workers died from smallpox in the diamond fields of South Africa in the nineteenth century. The disease was ignored, people not given vaccinations or quarantined, the situation covered up even by famous British statesman, Cecil Rhodes, to protect investment in the mines. These historical facts alone make the book worth reading.

Written linearly, chronologically, the book is both history and romance, depicting the plight of Francis Irvine traveling to a far and strange country to be married. She is an example of one of the redundant or surplus unmarried women in 19th century England who sought husbands and a new life in the colonies.

Book description: "A sweeping novel of romance and South African history.
Frances Irvine is forced by hopeless circumstance to emigrate from England to the Cape in pursuit of a reluctant marriage. There she discovers a strange new world where greed and colonial exploitation are bringing vast wealth to some and misery to countless others.

Frances must choose between two very different men: one serious and idealistic, the other charming and ambitious. When a smallpox epidemic threatens the financial dynasty of the most powerful Englishman in South Africa, Frances will be cast into a vortex of dangerous consequences—and find an unexpected, purposeful path." (publisher)

About the Author: Jennifer McVeigh has traveled to Southern and East Africa, and also drew on firsthand accounts of life in colonial South Africa, as well as nineteenth century guidebooks and women’s magazines, in order to make Frances Irvine’s experiences true to life. Visit her at www.jennifermcveigh.com

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book.


Deborah Lawrenson said...

I thought this was a tremendous read, full of wonderful descriptive vistas (and even wrote a blurb to that effect - not sure if it was used for the US edition.

Suzanne Yester said...

this sounds so interesting, especially from the historical perspective. I didn't know about the small pox cover up. thamks for sharing.

JoAnn said...

Wow, sounds like an interesting read!

Suko said...

This sounds like a fascinating mix of romance and history. Don't like the idea of redundant or surplus women!

Vicki said...

I think I'd enjoy this book. I'm adding it to my list!

The Bookworm said...

This sounds like a great read, and one that really would draw the reader in especially with the historical facts.

Elizabeth said...

I really loved this book. Loved the descriptions and the setting. A few of the characters were not my favorites. :)

THANKS for sharing your thoughts.

Stop by for giveaways on my blog and an answer to the Blog Hop question if you like.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Happy Hopping!!

Silver's Reviews
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Elizabeth said...

I have a giveaway for THE FEVER TREE beginning on February 21 if you want to stop by, Vicki.

Love the hearts when I clicked reply.

Happy Hopping!!

Silver's Reviews
My Blog Hop Answer

Harvee said...

It is in the U.S. edition, Deborah. Enjoyed your comments.

guiltlessreader said...

Have this on my radar. Thanks for the quick review, Harvee.

Tea said...

I would like to read about the diamond trade in South Africa.

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