STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Sunday, May 31, 2015

From my Bookshelf...

Fever by Mary Beth Keane is the story of  "Typhoid Mary," otherwise known as Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant in turn of the century NYC. Mary was the first known asymptomatic carrier of typhous in the US. Struggling to support herself as a cook, she worked for affluent families, labouring long hours in the kitchen for little pay, and unknowingly spreading the disease. At the time of course, medical knowledge was not what it is today. Mary had cooked for a number of families and left a trail of illness and a number of deaths in her wake before a Dr. Soper, a medical investigator, traced the typhoid outbreaks to Mary.
Mary was feisty, or perhaps I should say headstrong. She was not about to give up her love of cooking (and her livelihood!) without a fight. She would not believe that she could possibly be spreading typhoid when she had not been sick a day herself. After "running from the law" so to speak, she is eventually "caught" and is quarantined against her will and held in isolation while they "study her." I won't divulge any more of her story, but I will say it was a very compelling read. Although I'm sure the author has taken some liberties with details (this is historical fiction, after all) her description of Manhattan at the turn of the century and the conditions for poor single women is eye-opening. The poor were "dispensable" and such events as the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire make it abundantly clear that they had few rights. Mary was a victim of these times...
Fever is a very interesting read for those who love historical fiction, New York City history, or stories of strong women.
And before you go, if you haven't entered my Giveaway yet, click here to visit this post and leave a comment there...

Peace,
Linda

"We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become."
~ Ursula K. LeGuin

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

I have enjoyed your book recommendations - found out that my local library has this book so have placed a reservation on it! Thank you!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I do like historical books. So many good books to read! I'm trying to finish one up this week, "At the Water's Edge". Happy reading! Hugs, Diane

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