Rated of 5
by Kathleen S. (St Louis, MO)
Fever: A Love Story
This novel is based upon the life of Mary Mallon, known to history as Typhoid Mary. I titled this review a love story as it's the story of a 2-fold love; Mary's love of cooking and her love of ne'er-do-well Alfred, her long-time companion.
Mary used her talents as a cook to raise herself up on the domestic service ladder even after she was discovered to be an "asymptomatic carrier" of typhoid. Since cooks were more highly regarded and better paid than other domestics, she time and again went back to the craft even after she was put into isolation in 1907 and banned from cooking for others.
Mary could not keep away from her lover Alfred anymore than she could keep away from cooking. Their relationship continued on even thru Alfred's betrayal.
"Fever" gives us strong descriptions of early 20th century life in New York, especially for the lower classes who were forced to toil in upper class homes or in sweat shops for subsistence wages.
This fictionalized account of Mary depicts her as a strong immigrant woman who battled for a better life for herself. This book would be suitable for book clubs or those who enjoy reading about early 20th century life in New York.