Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: YA/ Fiction
It's late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn't get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family's coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie's concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family's small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie's struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight-the fight to stay alive. [via GoodReads]
I can't help it, but I have a morbid fascination in books about plagues and other such catastrophes. It's sick, I know. But I'm always enthralled by stories such as these.
Ms. Halse Anderson's tale was a captivating one. At the beginning of our story Mattie is a young girl helping her mother at the coffehouse they own. She's stubborn, selfish (at times) and has big dreams of making the family business prosper. As the yellow fever epidemic spreads and the town and its residents either succumb to illness or have no choice but to run, Mattie grows into a brave and strong, young woman. A young woman who helps those in need and finds a way to make her dreams come true.
The story is based upon the yellow fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in 1793 and killed some 5,000 people. Ms. Halse Anderson expertly captures the effects of the fever and how a whole city succumbs to it. I loved how descriptive the story was, making me feel as if I were living it with Mattie. With plenty of character development and excitement I found Fever: 1793 to be a very facinating read.
One last thing I'd like to mention, Ms. Halse Anderson includes an appendix at the back of the book with additional information about the people of the time and the epidemic as well as the factual people and events that she uses in her story. I found this very interesting and recommend that you don't pass up on reading that extra chapter.