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The Fever Tree Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (April 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399158243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158247
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With its cinematic descriptions and compulsively readable plotline, this debut novel may well become a book-club favorite. Frances Irvine is left destitute after the sudden death of her father, who had overinvested in railroad stocks. Victorian London offered only limited choices to women, and so she opts for a loveless marriage to family friend Edwin Matthews, a doctor in Kimberley, South Africa. But while onboard a ship bound for the Cape, Frances falls heedlessly in love with a roguish diamond smuggler, a fact that is not lost on her husband-to-be. Life on the veld proves to be unmanageable for a London lady who can pin her hair five different ways but can’t figure out how to make coffee, while Edwin works tirelessly to vaccinate Africans against smallpox, much to the consternation of the powerful diamond-mine owner. Despite her cluelessness for much of the novel, Frances proves her mettle in the end, and McVeigh’s fluid prose is a pure pleasure to read. With its social-justice angle; exotic, ruggedly beautiful location; and universal theme of emotional growth, this will have wide appeal. --Joanne Wilkinson

Review



 

“Debut author Jennifer McVeigh has created a fully realized sensory tour of 19th-century South Africa: You feel the grit of each dust storm, taste the mealie Frances chokes down, hear the cicadas scraping through the heat-parched air along with Frances’ plaintive piano playing. Against this desperate backdrop is an exploration of the vicissitudes of passion, the brutality of imperialism and the diamond trade's deeply racist beginnings. 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.” —Oprah.com
 
“Fabulous … this debut novel displays real power. McVeigh brings alive the diamond mines, the boom-or-bust frenzy created by instant wealth, the hostility between the Dutch-speaking Boers and the new British colonists. It also conveys the arid beauty of the sun-drenched terrain with its spiders, snakes and meerkats. Most of all, 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.” —USA Today
 
“A page-turner to tempt you.” —Good Housekeeping
 
“Read England's hottest book! The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh is already a bestseller in the UK (Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows is a fan!) —Woman’s World
 
“Jennifer McVeigh’s first novel, The Fever Tree, is a lovely one. . . . tremendously appealing . . . a page-turner.” —Associated Press

“McVeigh has imagined a rich and dramatic story.”—The Washington Post

 “There is nothing more exciting than a new writer with a genuine voice. I loved it.” —Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey
 
“McVeigh’s distinctive first novel is a lush, sweeping take of willful self-deception. . . . [t]he sensory detail and sweep of the novel are exquisite, particularly for a debut.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“While epic in both geographic and emotional scope, it also does a lovely job of illuminating how easy it is to see everything we lack and how hard it is to see what’s already in front of us. It’s earned comparisons to both Gone with the Wind and Out of Africa.” —Examiner.com

“[A] bewitching tale of loss, betrayal and love.” —Vogue, UK
 
“Fans of romantic classics such a The Thorn Birds and A Woman of Substance will be thrilled to discover McVeigh.” —San Antonio Express-News

"The Fever Tree is such a tale, a big bralwing book that's reminiscent of an old-time classic. . . . There's much to enjoy in this historical novel that delves into the injustices of diamond mining. . . . The Fever Tree is entertaining, the plot moves along, and is engaging. . . ." —The Missourian

“Forceful and direct, yet surprisingly lyrical, McVeigh’s narrative weaves top-notch research and true passion for the material with a well-conceived plot. . . . Overall, this story’s a gem.” —Kirkus Reviews 
 
"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.” —Booklist
 
“[R]iveting debut . . . McVeigh’s exhaustive research shines through . . . The Fever Tree is an engaging read; its capricious heroine grabs you from the start, urging you to ride out her journey before the morning alarm rings.” —BookPage
 
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…. A gripping story—I found myself thinking of scenes from this book long after I had turned the last page.” —Kim Edwards, New York Times–bestselling author
 

 
“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.” —Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound
 
“I loved it. I found Frances very convincing as a quiet but deep and passionate Victorian Englishwoman making her way in the most unfamiliar and grueling of circumstances in colonial South Africa. Jennifer McVeigh brilliantly evokes her life and times and the vast, unforgiving landscape. It’s a beautifully written novel of great feeling.” —Rachel Hore, bestselling author of The Place of Secrets and A Gathering Storm
 
“Jennifer McVeigh writes with perception and grace. This is an epic story of love, deception, and courage, and a young woman’s journey of self-discovery in a country of spectacular beauty.” —Patricia Wastvedt, author of The German Boy
 
“I whizzed through it and the writing was flawless and I was in awe of the breadth and scope. It is a rattling good read.” —Suzannah Dunn, author of The Confession of Katherine Howard and The Sixth Wife
 
“A world of red dust plains, pioneering grit, and the cruelty of colonial greed. Vividly described and supremely well-paced, this is an unforgettable journey into a heart of darkness.” —Deborah Lawrenson, author of The Lantern
 
 


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Customer Reviews

I was hooked from the moment I read the first chapter of this book.
Agnes O'Neil
The historical research behind it was accurate and made the story believable.
Sue Shilts
The story is compelling and each of the central characters fully developed.
Nitty's Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By L. Samuelson VINE VOICE on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Fever Tree, based partly on McVeigh's research, follows the life of Frances Irvine. Orphaned when her father dies, she's left with two choices: stay in England and become a maid for her relatives or accept Edwin Mathews's offer to immigrate to South Africa and marry him. She chooses the latter and the story begins. Frances leaves England with great misgivings about her fiance so that when she meets a dashing "ne'er do well" named William on the voyage to South Africa, she falls hopelessly in love with him. William has his way with her and then tells her he's already engaged. Heartbroken, feeling sordid and cheap, Frances continues on to South Africa and marries Dr. Mathews.
Plunked into the middle of a desolate plain by the doctor's circumstances, Frances cannot hide her dissatisfaction with a man who collects insects, writes articles to help improve the lives of the indigenous peoples, and fights the mine owners over a small pox epidemic. She yearns for William when she can't be the center of Edwin's life. When she reunites with William, Frances comes to a stark realization that is worth reading the book for.
McVeigh tells her story with easy to read, literate prose. Her writing made me feel for the Africans who were treated like animals by their British overlords. My throat became dry and parched when she described living through a drought. In short, McVeigh's imagery engaged me as a reader. I thank her for allowing me to share in Frances's journey of self discovery as she realizes that what glitters isn't necessarily gold.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Nitty's Mom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jennifer McVeigh has a gift for crafting both mood and setting. The story is compelling and each of the central characters fully developed.

The year is 1880 and Frances Irvine is the motherless daughter of a wealthy Englishman. When her father dies suddenly, Frances learns that a risky business venture has left her penniless. Her mother's side of the family offers Frances little help. Either a life of servitude or an unwanted marriage proposal. With seemingly little choice in the matter, Frances acquiesces and reluctantly agrees to marry a cousin on her fathers side of the family. Her fiance, Dr. Matthews is on his way to South Africa and Frances will need to emigrate and join him. Sailing to South Africa aboard the Cambrian, Francis meets the wealthy and charming William Westbrook. William is the cousin of Joseph Baier, one of the most influential and wealthy men in Kimberly, South Africa. Joseph and William have made their fortune in the diamond mines of South Africa. Frances is clearly smitten by William and he begins a slow seduction aboard ship.

The Fever Tree is reminiscent of Somerset Maugham's "The Painted Veil." In "The Painted Veil" an English woman follows her husband to the Chinese interior and into a cholera epidemic. Frances follows William to South Africa, where an outbreak of small pox might mean the end of the diamond rush, if word of the disease should get to the investors. The dilemma Francis faces is in choosing between two very different men. Her husband whose radical politics in favor of human rights makes him an outcast or William who awakens in Frances all the fervor of first love. Frances initially has no idea of who she is or what she wants from life. Her personal transformation happens gradually and realistically.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoy reading stories about unfamiliar historical periods and "The Fever Tree" proved to be one such rewarding read. Meticulously researched and set in the 19th century, the story centers on the life of a British woman, Frances Irvine, who left with few options after her father's death, decides to venture out to the Southern Cape of Africa to marry Dr. Edwin Matthews. Frances is not in love with Matthews and when she meets a diamond trader named William Westbrooke, she falls hard for him, not knowing what a cad he is. When William tells her he is already engaged, Frances is heartbroken and journeys on to meet her fiance.

Karoo, the remote rural place Frances finds herself in is desolate and to make matters worse, Frances chafes at her husband's preoccupation with social matters like the ills of European colonial rule, the diseases that run rampant through the area, and many more. Over a period of time, Frances learns more about the life of a settler in colonial South Africa, and realizes that compromises need to be made - should she choose passion over duty and loyalty? Are the needs of the flesh more important than adhering to one's principles? Frances' awakening, in all aspects, is well-developed throughout the story, and for some reason, I kept thinking of the movie The Painted Veil, perhaps because the core of that story had to do with an unhappy, dissatisfied wife of a doctor in an exotic setting.

"The Fever Tree" was a compelling read. I was captivated by the author's description of the harsh lives of settlers in colonial South Africa, of the brutal manner in which the colonialists treated the natives, and of the terrible living conditions in that time and place. The personal struggles of the main protagonist was painful to read but nevertheless illuminating and engaging.
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