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The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

The Fever Tree

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Winner of the Epic Category Romantic Novel of the Year at the RNA Awards 2014.

One of the Richard and Judy Spring 2013 Book Club selections.

Contrasting polite Victorian society with the hardships of diamond mining in Kimberley, South Africa, this is a terrific love story. Our heroine, Frances, is forced into a loveless marriage, has her heart truly awakened on the boat out to her new life and then knows not which man to follow. With a smallpox epidemic to contend with and the greed and ruthless lust for riches to recognise, young Frances soon grows up. Excellent on historical background and Victorian attitudes, this is a real page-turner.

January 2013 Debut of the Month.

If you like Jennifer McVeigh you might also like to read books by Victoria Hislop, M. L. Stedman and Katherine Webb.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

The critically acclaimed debut novel The Fever Tree , by Jennifer McVeigh. Young, naive Francis Irvine is left alone and penniless with the unexpected death of her father. Faced with the drudgery of poverty in nineteenth century London, she escapes England, hoping for a better life in South Africa. Marriage to her cousin Edwin, a forthright young doctor who is tirelessly fighting the smallpox epidemic sweeping the Cape, seems to provide a refuge. But her hopes are dashed when she is confronted by the reality of life in Africa, and tempted by the charming William Westbrook. Set against a backdrop of the unrelenting African landscape and inspired by the diary of a doctor working in South Africa, The Fever Tree explores one woman's struggle to decide her own fate, and in doing so she learns the true meaning of love, and living.


'Place and people come alive in this book...a gripping story.' Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter

'I loved it. It's a beautifully written novel of great feeling.' Rachel Hore, best-selling author of The Place of Secrets

'Engrossing, emotionally poised and elegantly written - I absolutely loved it.' Vanora Bennett, author of The People's Queen

'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

'A skilled unfolding of a woman's struggle with desire, class divide and disease in 19th Century South Africa.' Financial Times

'McVeigh's attention to the material culture of South Africa that really fascinates: no object is too small to attract her notice, and through accumulation such objects become evocative and strangely moving - well worth reading.' TLS

About the Author

Jennifer McVeigh

Jenny McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002 with a First in English Literature. She went on to work in film, television, radio and publishing, before giving up her day job to write fiction. She has travelled across East Africa and South Africa, often in off-road vehicles, driving and camping along the way. The Fever Tree is her first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd January 2013


Jennifer McVeigh

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Penguin USA an imprint of Penguin Putnam Inc


368 pages


Historical Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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