Bonny and Carole and I are pleased to share our next Read With Us book selection today. After much discussion and careful consideration, we've chosen Fever by Mary Beth Keane.
What's it about?
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she'd aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined medical engineer noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.
The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary, proud of her former status and passionate about cooking, the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.
Bringing early-twentieth-century New York alive, the neighborhoods, the bars, the park carved out of upper Manhattan, the boat traffic, the mansions and sweatshops and emerging skyscrapers, Fever is an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the imagination of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes a fiercely compelling, dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable heroine.
Why did we choose it?
We really did put a lot of thought into our second book selection. We wanted to choose a fiction book for this go-round, and we wanted it to be obscure enough that most of you haven't already read it, interesting - and full of discussable issues and topics, highly regarded, old enough to be available through most libraries, and short enough to be readable during the holiday months.
That's a lot of shoes for a mere book to fill . . . but we think we've done it with Fever! (Besides . . .it's historical fiction about a woman most of us have heard about by reputation -- but really don't know much about. And that's always interesting.)
What's the timeline?
Let's just say . . . you have plenty of time to get your hands on a copy of Fever! We'll be starting our background/promotional posts in January, with discussion posts to follow in February.
Where can I get a copy of the book?
I see that Fever is available for download on Kindle or iBooks ($12.99), as a paperback ($10.99 on Amazon; I also saw it on the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble for the same price), or through your local library. (The book was written in 2014, so there shouldn't be a big rush to read it.)
So. There you have it. All the details on our new book selection.
I hope you'll . . . Read With Us this winter!