February 1, 2014

The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh, Review and Give-away

"Domesticated plants---monstrosities, you called them. They grew in a controlled environment, protected, mollycoddled, grafted onto the stronger roots of other plants so they could survive; deviations from their true form in nature. They might be highly decorative, you said, bred for dazzling colors, but essentially they were monstrosities." She was speaking faster now, the logic of her words gathering force as she spoke. "I asked you---do you remember---what would happen to the if they were left to grow wild. Whether they could survive?" (p. 385) 

I suppose one of the reasons I accepted The Fever Tree for review was because Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, said he loved it. But I kept reading of South Africa, all this snowy day in the Midwest, because the story completely drew me in.

The novel has been compared to Out of Africa, and that would be an obvious choice. But, it is an unimaginative comparison. To me, the story more closely resembles A Painted Veil, in that a young English woman agrees to marry a man she does not love, and shortly thereafter is completely seduced by another. Edwin Matthews, her fiancé, is a fine man. He quarantines and vaccinates people in South Africa, trying his best to see that those working in the diamond mines are cared for. Yet Frances cannot see his honorable qualities for the boredom she feels in comparison to the other man's touch.

This could have been a romantic novel, with nothing to claim beyond erotically charged encounters and passionate embraces. But the lessons learned, and the setting in which it takes place, carries this novel to other heights. I was drawn in by the story; I was uplifted by the polishing of character which takes place right alongside the cultivating of the diamonds.

If you'd like to be considered for the give-away (publishers say US only, please), simply leave a comment below. I will announce the winner one week from today.


  1. Sounds good! It is nice that the Downton Abbey folk are endorsing books. It will help the publishing world that little bit more. :) (And I don't live in the U.S. remember, so just a comment... Not an entry!)

  2. Love Downton Abbey! Julian Fellowes was also in Monarch on the Glen, a quirky show that was on from 2000-2005. I would like to be entered! I enjoy your book reviews, they are personal, yet objective. I love how you retell the story without giving away the ending.

  3. Sounds very interesting.
    (not an entry)

  4. Loved Out of Africa and The Painted Veil, so The Fever Tree is a book I would love to read!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. I too loved The Painted Veil. This one sounds very interesting as well!

  6. This book is already on my wish list and reading your review has me moving it closer to the top. I loved The Painted Veil!

  7. Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway which interests me greatly. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. This novel sounds captivating and wonderful. Your wonderful review caught my interest. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed it, I've had it on my wishlist because of Julian Fellowes! lol. Would love to read, thanks so much!

    1. sorry forgot my email!

  10. GREAT review.

    I am almost done with THE FEVER TREE. I really am enjoying it.

    I am on the tour also. My review will be up on February 21.

    Stop by for giveaways on my blog if you like...two different ones.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog