Melissa P. (Greenville, NY)
This was a historical fiction book about Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary. Mary was believed to spread typhoid through her cooking, though she never showed symptoms of the illness herself. This book details how the Department of Health took Mary into custody and forced her to live on Brother Island in isolation for years. It details the court case to get Mary her freedom to leave the island and what happens to her as she returns to the "real world". Mary is portrayed as an intelligent yet stubborn woman. This book also talks of her relationship with her companion, Alfred, who has a host of issues of his own.
I found this book interesting. I find it amazing that this woman was isolated on an island for so many years. The medical tests that she was put through were intrusive and degrading. Yet, there were enough people she cooked for who took ill that makes the belief that she was a carrier have some credibility. I enjoyed this read.
I received a copy of this book from BookBrowse in exchange for a review.
Becky M. (Crumpler, NC)
Not your average historical fiction
Normally, I do not read historical fiction, because it is, after all, history--which I find difficult to read--and fiction--which sort of negates the history aspect. But I was intrigued by the topic, Typhoid Mary, and the fact that I knew so little about a woman whose name I had heard all my life. Fever captured my interest immediately and held on to it throughout the novel. Mary became more than a well-developed character. She became, instead, a woman of intrigue and conflicting emotions. There were elements of her personality which will resonate with most women--the need for independence, love, and respect. The fact that she lived 100 years ago only added to her appeal. Keane has melded the facts of that frightening time with the humanity of her characters and the quickly changing ethics of the early twentieth century. Still, Keane does not succumb to flippant fictional techniques and instead manages to write history in a serious, direct way while allowing her imagination to create believable scenarios and characters of depth.
Annette S. (Duluth, GA)
An unforgettable story of an Irish immigrant who came to New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Her dreams included becoming a cook as she worked her way up through the different positions of domestic service until finally becoming a cook for some of the wealthy families of Manhattan. You will learn of how the poor coped with urban life, and how the seriously ill were treated by the Department of Health, while they were trying to protect the health of the public.
As historical fiction, Fever will not disappoint and is one of the best.
Nikki M. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Poor Typhoid Mary!
I found this historical fiction fascinating, illuminating one of history's "infamous" characters, "Typhoid Mary". I wavered between feeling so sorry for Mary to being angry at her! This was all such new science when they discovered Mary was a healthy "carrier" of typhoid. I'm glad the author didn't get too bogged down in the science, and instead focused on the lives of Mary and those connected to her. Very interesting and thought-provoking, too!
Teresa R. (Evansville, IN)
Wow! Loved, loved, loved this book. It usually takes me a good 100 pages to get into a book... and really want to continue reading. Not so with "Fever." After reading the first 5 pages I was hooked. The writing is wonderful... so good in fact that you forget to even notice it. This was another book of historical fiction that makes me realize just what isn't known by many of us... the cardboard characters we read about as children become real people with real emotions and secrets. Read this one... I promise that you will learn something!
Joan C. (Warwick, RI)
Wow! What a great story about a real, historical person with truly a life based on continuous strife and struggle. Mary Mallon - an Irish immigrant, domestic servant with no family and a violent temper turns out to be identified as the first asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid Fever. Through no fault of her own, she is taken by force, against her will and deprived of her civil liberties. Yet, she emerges as a woman trying to find her way in a new country, without family or friends. Keane, has given the reader a real character we can like or dislike, but cannot ignore. The pros and cons of what Mary experienced is what makes this story so riveting and worthy of discussion. She was such a complex woman that In the end I still couldn't make up my mind whether to give her a loud "Boo" or a rousing cheer. Definitely a good read.