In some novels the setting is a force to be dealt with, a hostile environment awash with poverty, disease and corruption. “The Fever Tree” is such a tale, a big brawling book by Jennifer McVeigh that’s reminiscent of an old-time classic featuring a young woman struggling to cope with existence in a place foreign to her, with a man she can’t, or won’t trust.
A hothouse flower, Frances Irvine has been used to a life of privilege in 1880s Great Britain. Though her mother passed away years ago, she and her father have adjusted and enjoy the finer things in life. All that changes when Mr. Irvine becomes ill. Dr. Edwin Matthews is called in, a distant relative that Frances finds rather dull who stayed with the Irvines for a time when he and Frances were children. There is little the physician can do to help Frances’ father. He dies leaving his daughter penniless because of his unwise investments.
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