Monday, April 6, 2015
You give me fever, in the morning
She faces moving to her aunt's home and being treated as a nurse and maid for her condescending aunt's five children or emigrating to South Africa where her cousin has asked her to marry him.
Frances isn't in love with her cousin but can't see living with her aunt in Manchester. On the boat to The Cape, she's seduced by William Westbrook, a Machiavellian who promises to marry once they arrive in South Africa.
Upon arrival, Frances is stood up by Westbrook and learns that he's engaged to another. Saddened and alone, she travels the rest of the way to the farm where her cousin Edwin lives. It's is a desolate area and Edwin is gone much of the time, providing smallpox vaccinations.
Frances grows tired of this existence and on a trip to the city, she meets Westbrook again and he informs her of events in his life and that he still loves her and wants her to travel to Johannesburg with him as soon as he gets enough money from the diamonds he's illegally purchasing.
Frances has to choose between the two men and the remainder of the story tells of her choice and the consequences of it.
There is a very good portrayal of live in the Cape, with wealthy diamond miners refusing to believe that the smallpox is spreading for fear that the natives working in the mines will desert them. It is visually described and I feel that it would make an excellent movie.
The supporting cast is well described and that makes much of the book more interesting as Frances visits hospitals and tames a zebra and begins to become accustomed to the life.