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.
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).
O, The Oprah Magazine
Though the book is a page-turner of the ‘who will she choose?’ variety right until the end, the most fascinating strand of the story is Frances, and her struggles to come to terms with her new ideas about society, marriage, family and love.
McVeigh captures how greed and racism blinded whites to the savage mistreatment of the black Africans being robbed of their land and its wealth. History has rarely been more vividly presented.
McVeigh's distinctive first novel is a lush, sweeping tale of willful self-deception… the sensory detail and sweep of the novel are exquisite, particularly for a debut.
Forceful and direct, yet surprisingly lyrical, McVeigh's narrative weaves top-notch research and true passion for the material with a well-conceived plot. Readers might argue that the ending's a bit weak when compared to the boldness of the rest of the story, but that's a minor issue. Overall, this story's a gem.
With its cinematic descriptions and compulsively readable plotline, this debut novel may well become a book-club favorite. . . . With its social-justice angle; exotic, ruggedly beautiful location; and universal theme of emotional growth, this will have wide appeal.
Financial Times The Fever Tree is a skilled unfolding of a woman's struggle with desire, class divide, and disease in 19th Century South Africa... [T]he journey, like the landscape, is thrillingly huge: one of love, self-knowledge, human and political self-respect. Frances treads out every step - a naive and intriguing character who brings alive a momentous, and appalling, part of history.
The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
The subterfuges and instability of the diamond industry are engrossing, but it is McVeigh's attention to the material culture of South Africa that really fascinates: No object is too small to attract her notice, and through accumulation such objects become evocative and strangely moving ... The Fever Tree is well worth reading.
A magical, bewitching tale of loss, betrayal and love.
Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey
There is nothing more exciting than a new writer with a genuine voice. I loved it.
Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter and The Lake of Dreams The Fever Tree is vividly written, and moves so fluidly from Victorian drawing rooms to the wild, spare plains and brutal diamond mines of South Africa; place and people come alive in this book. When Frances Irvine, naive and sheltered, is forced to emigrate and make a new life, she encounters both beauty and searing injustices, and ultimately, she's forced to confront herself, as well. A gripping story - I found myself thinking of scenes from this book long after I had turned the last page.
Hillary Jordon, author of Mudbound
An orphaned young gentlewoman, a shipboard romance en route to a strange and perilous land, a forced marriage to an enigmatic stranger ... The Fever Tree serves up all the delicious elements of a romantic classic, seasoned by evocative prose and keen moral commentary. Gobble it up and then shelve it next to the Brontë sisters.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
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