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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.

©2012 Jennifer McVeigh (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Katy
  • 20-09-2013

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amelia
  • 14-07-2013

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sue
  • 06-05-2013

One of my top 10 excellent

What a fantastic book. It grabbed my full attention from the beginning and then I could not wait to hear the whole story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsey
  • 24-02-2013

Good tale, well narrated

I tend to prefer a male narrator but have to say that Haariet Kershaw does an excellent job with this story. The story itself is not unique, but the setting in South Africa with some of the historical details and descriptions of the hardship endured by all but the most wealthy was interesting. The main character is a little frustrating .. you sometimes feel she has reaped what she has sowed, but all in all well worth a listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Caecilia
  • 31-12-2012

The Fever Tree

Excellent audible read, very clear reader and a very enjoyable book. This was recommended by a friend who read it on her kindle, but I was very happy to have it via audible. Thank you

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jackie
  • 02-05-2013

Un-put-down-able,loved it.

A really good read,didn't want it to end. The story is enthraling as it was difficult to guess how it would all pan out & I learnt a few historic things as well. This is such a good book,I can't recommend it enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Pippa Lamb
  • 29-03-2013

Excellent and Gripping Story, a poor narrator.

The story is very gripping, but the narrator gabbles too fast all the way through. There is no light or shade in her narration. Her attempts at South African / Afrikaans dutch accents is excruciatingly awful, nor can she pronounce South African name places or words. Shame that the narrator lets this excellent book down.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Margo Price - Author
  • 19-11-2017

An interesting tale but unbelievable in parts

After absolutely loving Jennifer McVeigh's book 'Leopard at the Door', I couldn't wait to listen to 'The Fever Tree'. This is also an interesting story of a young lady, Francis , whose father has died and who is threatened with going to live with her aunt - and her children - in Manchester. She decides instead to marry her cousin, a doctor, and go with him to the diamond - mining region of South Africa. Francis's genteel Victorian upbringing obviously causes her, and her husband, myriad problems in their new home but I found it hard to believe that her naivete persisted for almost the complete novel, despite the numerous hardships she encounters along the way. While the narrator did a good job of most of the characters, some of them were a little wooden and Frances's spoilt and petulant voice became quite irritating after a while. Saying that, the descriptions of the way that natives were treated in the diamond mines and the corruption that was rife amongst the British owners was quite illuminating and made me a little ashamed to be British!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 16-01-2014

Enjoyable read

I was sceptical about this book. I liked the sound of the blurb, seemed like the kind of book I would normally enjoy with some historical content, travel and interesting women but the reviews got me worried. However, the book was quick to get into, enjoyed the characters and interesting back drop of Victorian South Africa. Understand what people mean about the story not being as strong as perhaps it could have been however, overall, a really enjoyable easy listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel
  • 02-12-2013

Dust and degradation for English Rose in SA Mines

What made the experience of listening to The Fever Tree the most enjoyable?

The Narrator had a very clear voice that was pleasant to listen to.She changed her tone and accent for the different characters and that made it easy to follow. The observant descriptions made me feel like I was there, in England, on the boat and in South Africa.
I learnt allot about some history and lifestyles that I hadn't known much about.
I particularly found the smallpox information interesting and loved the descriptions of the flora and fauna and hardship of he veldt.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mariella, She was so real and vibrant, ready to take on the world.

What does Harriet Kershaw bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The sounds of the characters and the environment.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definately, I listened to it on a long car journey and then kept listening through the night when I arrived!!!.

Any additional comments?

I would love to listen to more of Jennifer and Harriets Work