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The Fever Tree Audiobook

The Fever Tree

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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

What the Critics Say

"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 Rating

4.0 (42 )
5 star
 (14)
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2 star
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4.0 (32 )
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Story
4.1 (33 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Amelia 14/07/2013
    Amelia 14/07/2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    183
    ratings
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    101
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    Story
    "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
  •  
    sue fordingbridge, United Kingdom 06/05/2013
    sue fordingbridge, United Kingdom 06/05/2013 Member Since 2016

    I am a regular busy 50 something woman who really loves being able to listen to great stories while I am walking the dog or working at home.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Lindsey 24/02/2013
    Lindsey 24/02/2013 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Caecilia Eastbourne, United Kingdom 31/12/2012
    Caecilia Eastbourne, United Kingdom 31/12/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Jackie Sheffield, United Kingdom 02/05/2013
    Jackie Sheffield, United Kingdom 02/05/2013 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Pippa Lamb 29/03/2013
    Pippa Lamb 29/03/2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Sarah LEEDS, United Kingdom 16/01/2014
    Sarah LEEDS, United Kingdom 16/01/2014 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Haywards Heath, United Kingdom 02/12/2013
    Rachel Haywards Heath, United Kingdom 02/12/2013 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    Story
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katy MANCHESTER, United Kingdom 20/09/2013
    Katy MANCHESTER, United Kingdom 20/09/2013

    thejams

    ratings
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    12
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    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leona Feniton, United Kingdom 11/07/2013
    Leona Feniton, United Kingdom 11/07/2013 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very enjoyable listen"
    If you could sum up The Fever Tree in three words, what would they be?

    cinematic, historical, interesting


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

    The narration was easy flowing and easy to listen to, except Harriet's pronunciation of some basic South African words, mainly velt (pronounced felt) and kopje, grated on me, Frances might have been English but I'm fairly sure she wouldn't have mispronounced these basic, commonly used words which are not said as they are written. Her South African accent was passable so it's a real shame that she didn't research some of these few words as their correct pronunciation would have made her performance great as overall the narration made the character come alive.


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

    Definitely.


    Any additional comments?

    I picked this book because of the South African setting, having lived there for many years I have fond memories of the velt and the diversity of the people. Jennifer McVeigh has portrayed this, the incredibly harsh beauty of the landscape and the intensity of the weather and people, very well.

    This book is also historically fascinating, it depicts the lives not only of the immigrants , the Boers and the locals of that time period but also the history of the diamond mining in Kimberley which shaped South Africa and it's people. Knowing some of the local history already I was keen to confirm and get a better understanding of the period that this book is set in and after some research I stumbled upon the following

    link:http://www.jennifermcveigh.com/for-readers-book-clubs/history ,

    where I read that 'Joseph Baier' was indeed based on Cecil Rhodes as I suspected. The story itself seems to be based on the diaries of a young doctor which Jennifer McVeigh found in the British Library and even though this book is work of fiction, much of the back story seems to be based on well researched history.

    I found the characters likeable, but at times frustrating. Frances's character seems to encompass the naivety I would imagine in a young woman of the era, the desires that sway her and the mistakes she makes are believable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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