Sarah Whittingham cleverly and creatively weaves the story of the Victorian's obsession with ferns. Fern Fever is full of surprises. The length the Victorians went to collect ferns, often putting their lives in harm's way, equals the author's impeccable research and ability to ferret out the most entertaining stories, which are fascinating in the spirit of social history.
Beautiful photos depict how ferns were used in decorating everything from glassware to Custard Cream Biscuits. Illustrations and the wealth of gorgeous book covers from the period make this a book to relish.
From tree ferns growing through dining room tables, a fashionable decoration used for entertaining, to my personal favorite, phantom bouquets, the author has left no stone unturned. Many fern hunters across the British Isles even thought they might find the "little folk" in fairy land. Perhaps they did, but the fact is that Fern Fever is quite magical.
A thoroughly-researched, witty and fascinating wander around Victorian England, through the medium of ferns. Sarah Whittingham's book is wonderfully illustrated, comprehensive in its scope, and her enthusiasm for her subject animates every page. The collectors, the cultivators and the place of ferns in the imagination and culture of the late Victorians all spring vividly to life. A brilliant present for yourself or another.
This book is one to read, and read again. To dip in and savour. A complete joy but I fear I am now afflicted with the terrible disease of pteridomania. That's right, I've gone fern crazy. I'm off to the garden centre this weekend to stock up on these delights and add them to my already overcrowded garden. The Victorians were nuts about ferns and would risk life and limb to acquire the rarer species, according to the author, Sarah Whittingham. And I can see why. I relished all the author's fabulous detail in this book, her painstaking research and quirky tales of human and fern endeavours. A jammed packed read AND a glossy, beautiful coffee table book - what's not to love?