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The Fever Tree
by Jennifer Mcveigh

Overview - Having drawn comparisons to "Gone with the Wind" and "Out of Africa," "The Fever Tree" is a page-turner of the very first order.
"In London she was caged by society.
In South Africa, she is dangerously free."
Frances Irvine, left destitute in the wake of her father's sudden death, has been forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Southern Cape of Africa.
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More About The Fever Tree by Jennifer Mcveigh
 
 
 
Overview
Having drawn comparisons to "Gone with the Wind" and "Out of Africa," "The Fever Tree" is a page-turner of the very first order.
"In London she was caged by society.
In South Africa, she is dangerously free."
Frances Irvine, left destitute in the wake of her father's sudden death, has been forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Southern Cape of Africa. 1880 South Africa is a country torn apart by greed. In this remote and inhospitable land she becomes entangled with two very different men--one driven by ambition, the other by his ideals. Only when the rumor of a smallpox epidemic takes her into the dark heart of the diamond mines does she see her path to happiness. But this is a ruthless world of avarice and exploitation, where the spoils of the rich come at a terrible human cost and powerful men will go to any lengths to keep the mines in operation. Removed from civilization and disillusioned by her isolation, Frances must choose between passion and integrity, a decision that has devastating consequences. "The Fever Tree" is a compelling portrait of colonial South Africa, its raw beauty and deprivation alive in equal measure. But above all it is a love story about how--just when we need it most--fear can blind us to the truth.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780399158247
  • ISBN-10: 0399158243
  • Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
  • Publish Date: April 2013
  • Page Count: 425
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-02-04
  • Reviewer: Staff

McVeigh’s distinctive first novel is a lush, sweeping tale of willful self-deception set against a political attempt to hush up a smallpox epidemic for personal wealth in late 19th-century South Africa. Frances Irvine is left destitute by her father’s death after he loses his fortune in railroad speculation in England. Her choices are to leave London and go to Manchester as an unpaid nursemaid or to travel to the Southern Cape of Africa and marry Dr. Edwin Matthews, a family friend. Frances chooses Edwin, though she dreads the prospect of being his wife almost as much as staying in England. Aboard ship, she falls for William Westbrook, a lively man who sees opportunity in Africa. Once in South Africa, Frances refuses to help run the house, is disgusted by her husband’s quest for justice for the Boers, and is easily swayed by pro-colonial arguments. It’s difficult to retain sympathy for Frances, who refuses to face her mistakes for much of the book. By the time she takes an active part in her life, the reader is nearly out of patience. However, the sensory detail and sweep of the novel are exquisite, particularly for a debut. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, the Gernert Company. (Apr.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Into the heart of Africa

The Fever Tree, Jennifer McVeigh’s riveting debut novel, follows a pampered British woman, Frances Irvine, who leaves her insular life and journeys to the Southern Cape of Africa during the 19th-century diamond rush.

When Frances suddenly loses her father—and subsequently her station in life—she must choose whether to become a maid in her aunt’s home or travel to South Africa to marry a man she does not love, Dr. Edwin Matthews. Reluctantly engaged and en route to Africa, Frances falls for handsome diamond trader William Westbrooke, but soon learns he is a man of weak promises and loose morals.

Disillusioned and heartbroken, Frances is forced to finish her journey to meet Dr. Matthews in the Karoo, a distant hinterland outside of Kimberley. Once there, she realizes her husband’s duty as a doctor has set him on a crusade to end the corruption inherent in the European colonial rule. Frances must make a brutal decision: Will she choose passion over morality, material wealth over integrity?

McVeigh’s exhaustive research shines through the vivid recounting of the harsh lives of the settlers of South Africa. Drought, deplorable mistreatment of the native Africans, and abject living conditions are illustriously brought to life and, at times, difficult to digest. The Fever Tree is an engaging read; its capricious heroine grabs you from the start, urging you to ride out her journey before the morning alarm rings.

 
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