Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

Title:  The Fever Tree

Author:  Jennifer McVeigh

Narrator:  Jayne Paterson

Unabridged Length:  12 hrs, 50 mn

Here is a summary of the novel from the publisher's website

In London she was caged by society.
In South Africa, she is dangerously free.

Frances Irvine, left destitute in the wake of her father’s 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.

My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel as this is my first experience with McVeigh.  I can tell you that I think I enjoyed listening to it much more than if I would have actually read it.  This book kind of reminded me of the historical romances I read as a young mother, and since romances really are no longer one of my preferred reading genres, I wasn't sure how I would like it once completed.  Well Paterson did a wonderful job narrating, helping to enhance my listening pleasure.

Young Frances is our main character, who once lived a privileged life in England with her father.  When her father passes on he leaves behind a financial disaster that doesn't allow Frances the lifestyle she has been accustomed to.  In an effort to secure her future she accepts a wedding proposal from a doctor she has known for years.  So she is a young girl who has never experienced love, already engaged to a man she is to meet in South Africa.

Her journey is mapped out in front of her as she leaves the comforts of England for the savagery of South Africa.   The only mode of transportation to the country where she will be meeting her husband is by ship, and unfortunately she cannot afford a first-class ticket.  It becomes a long and arduous journey for young Frances, allowing her the opportunity to make many acquaintances.  When she captures the attention of the roguish William Wentworth, she feels a new awakening within herself making it difficult to control her actions.

Life in Africa is not what Frances expected by any means.  Her doctor husband makes a meager salary as he is still making a name for himself.  Food on the table is not bountiful, their clothing is ragged, and their belongings are dirty all the time. Hard times have her questioning her life with her husband, making the fantasy she created about William that much more enticing.

Everything really went full circle for Frances in this novel and I can tell you that I enjoyed it more than I expected.  With themes of love, choices, and forgiveness I think many of you would also enjoy this book for personal leisure or as a book club selection.  I don't hesitate in recommending this audiobook.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the publisher through the Audio Jukebox program in exchange for an honest review.


bermudaonion said...

It sounds like this came alive on the audio!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Hey Jo Jo!!! How are you? I am really excited about this one!

If you have time today pop in by, it is my 4 year blogiversary and I am hosting a big giveaway and a fun post :) Would love to see you there.

Vicki said...

Glad you enjoyed it! If I decide to try it, I'll go with the audio book too.