Selected for The Richard and Judy Book Club 2013
A compelling portrait of colonial South Africa as well as the life of women near the turn of the century.
South Africa, 1880 - a country torn apart by greed. Frances Irvine, destitute in the wake of her father's sudden death, is forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Cape. 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 rumour of a smallpox epidemic takes her into the dark heart of the diamond mines does Frances see her path to happiness. But this is a ruthless world of greed 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.
“The Fever Tree is a skilled unfolding of a woman's struggle with desire, class divide and disease in 19th Century South Africa... the 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.” (Financial Times)
"There is nothing more exciting than a new writer with a genuine voice. I loved it." (Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey)
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Listening was an act of perseverance. I kept waiting for the heroine to get her act together. Nearly gave up several times.
The locations were beautifully described, but the main character was incredibly frustrating and so difficult to like. She took far too long to get her act together.
Yes I would go to see it.
Somehow, aside from wanting to shake the main character, I am drawn to this book and will probably listen again. And moan again.
A darker/hidden Victorian England/African Diamonds