Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Julie's Review: The Fever Tree

Review: In London she was caged by society. In South Africa, she is dangerously free. Frances Irvine, left destitute in the wake of her fathers sudden death, has been forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Southern Cape of Africa. 1880 South Africa is a country torn apart by greed. 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 rumor of a smallpox epidemic takes her into the dark heart of the diamond mines does she see her path to happiness. But this is a ruthless world of avarice 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. Removed from civilization and disillusioned by her isolation, Frances must choose between passion and integrity, a decision that has devastating consequences. The Fever Tree is a compelling portrait of colonial South Africa, its raw beauty and deprivation alive in equal measure. But above all it is a love story about how—just when we need it most—fear can blind us to the truth. ~powells.com  

Review: The Fever Tree is a sweeping novel set during the 1880s starting in London and then moving to South Africa. It is a story of survival and of finding out what it is that you believe in. For Frances, she finds herself torn between two different kinds of lives and loves: one that would be more comfortable and one that will be lacking in material things but full of purpose.

Frances isn't always the easiest character to like but at times I understood where she was coming from. Her life in London was ripped from her and she's now in a completely different country with a complete stranger. She's naive and sheltered. She's easily convinced that she's in love with a man she just met, who doesn't have the best reputation.

I loved the setting of South Africa. It is rugged, harsh and unsettling. It is the polar opposite of London. It is waiting to be discovered. Of course, with discovery there is always going to be some politics involved and unfortunately for Frances she doesn't understand how it works.

While the change in Frances was sudden and a little too clean, I'm always for a character who grows and she did. She came to understand herself, her husband and her new country.

Final Take: 3.75/5



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