Today I read a few of the thin volumes and paged through Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison (which I will write about more later). But I have been consumed with reading The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh. Set in 1877 in London and in South Africa, it is the story of Frances Irvine, a young woman whose father has died, leaving her to contemplate her future. She decides to accept the proposal of a distant cousin and travels by steamer to the Southern Hemisphere. En route, she experiences an unexpected relationship with a man who is also going there, but the two are of quite different social classes. Once there, she discovers her husband and the life he provides for her are filled with contradictions and moral choices. Add to this the diamond mining by powerful Englishmen, the severe mistreatment of the native people, and the denial (and cover-up) of the smallpox epidemic.
In her author's note, she talks about reading journals and diaries written by those who lived through that horrific time...all housed at the British Library.