The Fever Tree

  • by Jennifer McVeigh
  • Narrated by Harriet Kershaw
  • 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Frustrating Heroine

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Listening was an act of perseverance. I kept waiting for the heroine to get her act together. Nearly gave up several times.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Yes I would go to see it.

Any additional comments?

Somehow, aside from wanting to shake the main character, I am drawn to this book and will probably listen again. And moan again.

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- Katy

A darker/hidden Victorian England/African Diamonds

I enjoyed this book and although others disliked I enjoyed the narration.
Life as a woman in Victorian England was very restricted and they were governed by men as in this story Frances's male relatives. Thus choices made as a result were not ones freedom of choice would have brought. Having said that I think the character of Frances is such that she would not have moved and subsequently developed as a person had they not been so.
The journey starts in England and moves to South Africa and to the reality of what life was like for the diamond miners at the time.
I found the story interesting and also to see Frances change and develop. The two men in her life are very different characters and I enjoyed getting to know both.
The book is about choices Frances made some not so wholesome and some more so. I enjoyed reading about the Smallpox epidemic and looked up Smallpox as a result learning alot.
I enjoyed the book overall and if you wish a historically interesting read I would recommend it.
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- Amelia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-08-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios