Thursday Give Away

For this Thursday’s give away, I’ve managed to get my hands on an advance copy of The Fever Tree, a debut novel set in 19th century Africa.

Here’s the official blurb:

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.

I’ve missed those big M.M. Kaye type books– and this one does capture the world of gold rush colonial Africa beautifully. I did find myself frequently annoyed with the heroine, and then had to ask myself whether I would have fared any better in similar circumstances. (I’ve often wondered the same about pioneer America.) Which provides my question for this week….

How do you think you would have fared in frontier territory?

One person who comments will be chosen at random to receive the book. The winner will be announced on Sunday.


  1. Molly J on March 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I think I would have been okay with the cooking, and resourcefulness, but the lack of indoor plumbing would have gotten me!

  2. Colleen Turner on March 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Horribly :)! I am not a very greedy or manipulative person so I have a feeling I would have been eaten up by all this inhospitable world!

  3. Colleen Turner on March 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Horribly :)! I am not a very greedy or manipulative person so I have a feeling I would have been eaten up by that inhospitable world!

  4. Connie Starkey on March 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Interesting that you bring up MM Kaye – I’ve been going through a big re-read of all of her books, The Far Pavilions and her Death In… series. And you’re right, she paints such a vivid portrait of long away places and time.

    As far as your question, I’d like to think that I struggle but survive. I’m independent and crave excitement. I’m often annoyed by fictional heroines that are weak and wavering without the help of a strong shoulder to lean on.

    Bring on the adventurers and strong pioneer women!! I’m fascinated by real-life heroines that succeed in doing what thousands of men fail to achieve…

  5. Caroline W on March 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I wouldn’t have fared well. The daily grind would have done me in. I participate in Revolutionary War re-enacting and it’s brutal. As a lady, I’m on my feet the whole time. Cooking over hot fires, cleaning, washing dishes constantly. I utterly exhausted after one weekend so what would have happened if it was my life?

  6. Katie R. on March 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I’d like to think that I would have made it during pioneer times. I think one of the positive aspects of the challenges of pioneer times is that they were clear challenges with more obvious and known solutions. Please don’t think I am minimizing how hard they struggled. I am just saying that our lives are so complicated now and so hard to navigate. The challenges we face and the directions we can go are so multi-faceted, that sometimes I feel overwhelmed just trying to find my path in life. We have the luxury of not having to spend so much energy just surviving, but that leaves room and energy for lots of other things and we have to decide for ourselves what to do and our decisions can come with lots of consequences. Sometimes I envy the simplicity of life that people enjoyed back then.

  7. Vicki on March 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    After having read both the Little House series and all of Dorothy Garlock’s backlist, I feel that I am now completely prepared to tackle frontier life. From making lye soap to cooking the perfect hoecake over an open fire, thanks to Wilder and Garlock, I am ready. 😉

  8. Tiffany on March 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Hm… I would love a simpler life – I think it sounds divine. Being a vegetarian, however, might be a bit tough to tackle on the frontier – so I suppose that would be my biggest struggle.

  9. Rachel Adrianna on March 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Oh, my- the “little girl on the prarie” in me wants to say I’d do fine but after seeing PBS’s “Frontier Life” 10 years ago made me realize I would wuss out at the first mention of no tampons, music, or shampoo.

  10. Cherie on March 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    What a funny question. So many people who were better equipped than modern folk died, and I imagine I would have died right along with them. I have 3 children, but I’m quite sure that I would not have made it through having the first one, and I’m guessing we would both have died. I actually like gardening and chopping wood and canning, but the backup of being able to go to the store makes a big difference. Not to mention running water and modern heat and…..

  11. Amy on March 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I would probably not have done well. If nothing else there wouldn’t be enough books for me! I don’t mind hard work, but I do like my creature comforts at the end of the day.

  12. Nancy Kvorka on March 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    If I went back in time, I think it would be very challenging knowing what I know now. Many things as everyone noted, I would miss. If that was what I grew up with I like to think I would be just fine and resourceful.

  13. Joni on March 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I think from a personality perspective I would have tolerated the African frontier pretty well. I’m resourceful and tend not to panic at the onset of trouble or difficulty. I can’t say, however, that I would fare wonderfully because I’m so used to the convenience (and the spoils) of modern life. I don’t think I’d be very happy if I was suddenly transported somewhere that lacked indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Oh, air conditioning, how I love thee.

    I think Fever Tree looks amazing and I truly cannot wait to read it!

  14. bn100 on March 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    maybe not that well

  15. NikkiB on March 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I think I would have done okay. I grew up on a farm raising chickens, collecting firewood and planting crops, so I may be at least a little prepared…. maybe?

  16. Rebecca P on March 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Depends…. If I had been born & raised on it, maybe I could have learned how to manage on the frontier, but if I were somehow to find myself on one now, no way. I’d be dead in a week.

  17. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on March 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    American West… I think I could do ok… not too hot, I can build things and make food and clothes. Yes, it’s the Laura Ingalls life for me. Anywhere really hot? I’d die.

  18. Susan on March 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    It would be a challenge and a struggle if that is not what you are used to. I might do alright, but not without alot of grumbling!

  19. Ashley on March 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Based on my experience playing Oregon Trail as a child, all my oxen would die attempting to ford the river, and everyone in my party would die of cholera.

    This book looks great – I’ve been looking for some M.M. Kaye readalikes too!

    • Katelin on March 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Haha I used to play that too and my oxen never lived either. Poor things. May they rest in peace.

  20. Kayse on March 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    While I’d like to think that I’d be resourceful and quick-witted, I’m afraid that I wouldn’t fare well at all on the frontier. I’d bring shame to my mid-Western farmer ancestors. :-\

  21. Marissa on March 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Honestly, pretty horribly. I used to pretend I was Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was a kid, but it was more glamorous in my imagination. I am so grateful I live in a time period that has indoor plumbing. I can’t even stand going into Port a Potti’s and I hate airplane toilets. I’m very much reliant on the technology and heating/air conditioning we have these days. I’m very much a hard worker and I can do most things. I can do a lot of outdoor things, like tending to gardens and weeding and such, but then I like to come inside and take a shower in my 21st century house. So no, I would not do well in the frontier, but hey, at least I know and accept that in myself! 🙂

  22. Céline on March 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I’ve always thought I should have been born into another century… but then I think about the comfort of the modern world and I tell myself that I wouldn’t have done very well had I crossed the Atlantic three centuries before I actually did it… but I’m very very much impressed by people who braved the seas to start a new life thousands of miles from their birth country in the 17th century!

  23. Jessica C on March 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I’m not sure. If I was born back then, grew up in that environment, I think I would have struggled but survived. I’m not easily scared by tough physical conditions (or by wild animals) which would help. But if modern me went back in time it would be very much harder, there would be a steeper learning curve and I probably wouldn’t have the necessary skills to survive and it might take too long to learn them.

  24. Am7 on March 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I don’t think I would have done well at all.

  25. Katelin on March 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    A few years back I would have said that I wouldn’t have been able to do it but, during my high school years I was given the opportunity to take place in an amazing outdoor program they had.I am definitely not the type of girl people picture as outdoorsy and such but I really surprised myself and loved it. Due to this experience I think I would have been ok with the lack of civilization and supplies.
    But I also think I would have endured because I am a survivor I’m currently recovering from a serious illness as well as having been badly injured while I recovered.Instead of letting my convalescence depress me I decided to use it as an opportunity so I learned to draw and paint. I also read like mad.I think sometimes how you fair under difficult circumstances has to do with your state of mind.

    • Vanessa on March 22, 2013 at 6:53 am

      I agree with you Katelin that a state of mind is an important aspect that comes into play with out survival instincts. I hope that you are recovering well and fast (and have a lot of books to keep you entertained)!

  26. Rachel Brown on March 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I would have to agree with Ashley-based on Oregon Trail, I would either get eaten by a bear or die of cholera. Or I may not even make it all the way out to the frontier because my wagon gets stuck in a mud hole. I think it’s safe to say that I would not handle that time period very well.

  27. Lynne on March 22, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I’m pretty sure I’d be doomed. I am thankful everyday for indoor plumbing and hot showers. The whole idea of dirt, dirt and more dirt makes me very appreciative of our modern world.

  28. Vanessa on March 22, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I would not have been able to survive! I can’t sew for the life of me, and I had a horrible experience when the washing machine wasn’t working, and so I had to hand wash a lot of clothes/sheets/bedding/towels for a few weeks… long story short I was none too happy at the state my hands and back were in.

  29. Meredith A on March 22, 2013 at 8:40 am

    If I was born into that world, I would like to think that I would be properly adapted to survive frontier life…if you don’t know any different, you would make due and appreciate what you have. One could argue the fact that today’s world has far more complications than a frontier one, but I think both time periods have their positives and negatives. I would certainly miss modern conveniences, but could definitely appreciate a more creative and rustic life that is not constantly under the umbrella of electronics and down-to-the-second scheduling.
    But then again, I hate spiders and love indoor plumbing…I have to say that I am happy living in the exact era I live in but reading about the frontier from the comfort of my spider-free tub.

  30. MelissaW on March 22, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I could never win at Oregon Trail – I always died. Probably true to life.

  31. Emily on March 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I think I would be okay. I’m assuming I would be where my ancestors were, and they all survived. The women, at least. The men tended to die younger. It would be hard but possible, I guess?

  32. Hannah S. on March 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I think I would love it! I am an archaeology student and summers digging are spent living in not the best of places and often require stepping far out of your comfort zone. There is little cell or internet service which leaves time for more reading and hanging around with friends without the distraction of phones and youtube videos. These summers are what I look forward to every year! Granted I know at the end of every summer I get to go home to my air conditioning and hot showers, but the time roughing it is worth it!

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