The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Fever Tree



Having read many positive reviews of the Fever Tree (C) by Jennifer McVeigh; it appeared to be something I would really enjoy.  I’m afraid it didn’t meet my expectations.

It begins in England where Frances Irvine has lived a very sheltered, carefree life; that is until her beloved father dies. Having lost his fortune investing in diamond mines in Africa, he leaves Frances penniless. Now alone, Frances has to make a big and unpleasant decision.  Does she live with her mother’s relations as a nursemaid to their children or does she marry the man her father fostered and put through medical school?  Choosing Dr. Edwin Matthews, she sets sail for Africa. It is on this voyage that she meets William Westbrooke who turns her life upside down.

The author’s research about the catastrophic consequences from mining for diamonds in Africa sets the stage for The Fever Tree. While corruption destroys the economy, a small pox epidemic denied by greedy mine owners results in countless deaths and misery.

I thought the historical facts interesting but the story of Frances’s life was predictable to the point of boring. I found her to be an unlikeable, immature, frustrating character. William, the villainous scoundrel and Edwin the unselfish hero were not much more palatable either.

All in all, as historical fiction goes, it clearly fits the genre.  As a love story: boy meets girl, girl looses guy, girl tires to right her wrongs story; it was too much of a been there done that for me. My review holds no praise but since so many others do; I believe you should give it a try and see if you agree with them or me.





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