The Fever Tree
by Jennifer McVeigh
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: 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.
From the publisher
Review: To be honest. I almost abandoned this book 50 pages in. The beginning was not interesting and I also felt that there were parts missing. For example, in the first chapter, Frances' father is alive but in the second chapter, he's already been dead for a week or two. There wasn't enough emotion from Frances regarding her father's death and her dilemma of going to marry her distant cousin who lives in Africa or live with her aunt and be a nursemaid. There were times that I felt like I was walking in to the middle of a conversation and I was supposed to have heard the beginning (this happened throughout the book). But I was curious to see where the story was going. It picked up a little after she got on the boat but it didn't really pick up until she got to Africa. Her life in South Africa and the life of diamond miners was quite interesting. The author portrays the stark life in South Africa but also the beauty that can be found in nature. They story was a somewhat typical romance story but set in a different location. I did find the characters unlikable at times. Frances' cousin is a doctor in South Africa and he expects Frances to quickly abandon the lifestyle that she has always known and adapt quickly to an impoverished life in South Africa. I felt this was extremely unlikely as a girl who has always had everything done for her to decide, hey no problem I can cook, clean, and do laundry? I understand that she needed to grow up and stop being selfish but that couldn't happen quickly. Frances herself was unlikable because she was quite selfish at times. (I know this review is getting long for you Marcie but I'm torn). In summary, it was an interesting story that had some flaws.
Rating: 2 1/2 stars