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The Fever Tree Paperback – 3 Jan 2013
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A beautifully written novel of great feeling (Rachel Hore, author of A Place of Secrets)
Vividly written, and moves so fluidly from Victorian drawing rooms to the wild, spare plains and brutal diamond mines of South Africa - a gripping story (Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter)
There is nothing more exciting than a new writer with a genuine voice. I loved it (Julian Fellowes creator of Downton Abbey)
A compelling read with a Gone with the Wind feel to it - I was hooked (Katharine McMahon, author of The Alchemist's Daughter)
Engrossing, emotionally poised and elegantly written - I absolutely loved it (Vanora Bennett author of The People's Queen)
I admired The Fever Tree a lot. She weaves her knowledge skilfully into the fabric of the story and she is very good indeed both at creating atmosphere and a sense of place. It isn't just entertainment but instead both informative, historically accurate and deeply felt. It is the sort of satisfying read so many people are looking for (Margaret Forster)
A bewitching tale of loss, betrayal and love (Vogue)
An epic story of love, deception and courage (Patricia Wastvedt, author of The German Boy)
Epic, enchanting, emotional and engrossing (Easy Living 'Must-read of the Month')
An unforgettable journey into a heart of darkness: romantic and tragic, a tale of honour and redemption, it leaves wide vistas of a harsh yet beguiling landscape shimmering in the imagination long after the last page is turned (Deborah Lawrenson, author of The Lantern)
About the Author
Jennifer McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002. She went on to work in film, radio and publishing before giving up her day job to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and southern Africa, driving and camping along the way. Her first novel, The Fever Tree (Penguin, 2012), was a Richard and Judy Book Club Pick and received widespread critical acclaim.
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Set in the 1880s, The Fever Tree is a sweeping and epic tale, and one which readily draws you in; from the high society of London to the stretching plains of the African veldt and the ramshackle tents of the diamond mining town Kimberly, the scenes simply burst into life almost as if you were watching them on the silver screen.
McVeigh captures the horrors and atrocities, the poverty and disease, the human corruption and exploitation at hand in South Africa commendably,whilst at the same time painting its natural beauty and resilience.It all plays as a brilliant backdrop for Frances, who at the start of the novel is nothing more than a rather over-indulged and self-absorbed Englishgirl, to begin to slowly appreciate the wider world around her; and the story is really about her gradual evolvement into a more mature young woman.
It has to be said that Frances is often quite unlikable, and some of the decisions and choices she makes are disastrous; however, at the same time one is almost willing her to wake up to the real world, and she does evoke a certain sympathy. The love triangle between the three central characters is well drawn, if perhaps a tad predictable; however, it is hard not to be drawn into this story of a slow-burning romance as Frances gradually comes to realize the true worth of the man she is married to.
Overall The Fever Tree is a classic old-fashioned tale, with romance, adventure and well drawn characters whom you come to care about, not to mention a wonderful insight into some of the social conflicts and colonial life in Africa of that time. The descriptions and prose are beautifully vivid, and the attention to detail and historical research commendable. A brilliant debut and McVeigh will certainly be an author I shall be watching out for in future!
This is a book to take on holiday or as a light summer read but I would not read it again and have no real wish to explore other books by this author. A pity because the subject matter could have led to a much better read!