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.
The first indication that her father was unwell had come in June.
Frances woke in the night and stared into the dark, listening. The house held its silence for a moment, then exhaled in a murmur of low voices which drifted up from the landing below.
She drew a shawl from her bed and pushed open the door.
"Lotta?" she called down. Quiet for a second, then the creaking seesaw of Lotta's weight on the stairs, and the bobbing light of a candle. A billow of white nightgown, and the maid's broad, placid face swam into view.
"It's your father, Miss. He's back but he's not been himself." She pressed past Frances into the bedroom.
"How do you mean?"
Lotta bent to light the candle by the bed, her chest expanding and contracting like bellows, the flame flickering as she breathed.
"What's wrong with him?" Frances demanded, grabbing at her wrist.
Hot wax spilt over their hands and Lotta drew back, wincing in pain. "I don't...
McVeigh’s The Fever Tree is entrancing and provocative. It is a beautiful character drama and an insightful historical representation. This novel is not to be missed.
(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Full Review (1222 words).
The discovery of diamonds in Kimberley changed the course of South African history. Prior to this find, South Africa was a colonial outpost that was sparsely populated by Europeans and native tribes.
The Dutch East India Company established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 with the purpose of resupplying Company ships. Initially they had no interest in developing the hinterland but found that they needed to increase food supplies so released some of the Dutch farmers, known as Boers, from their contracts allowing them to set up farms which would supply the colony and ships. By 1806, when Dutch colonial power gave way to British control, the Boers had established control over large tracts of land but, being fiercely independent ...
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