Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday--Fever

The Waiting on Wednesday concept is a weekly feature of the Breaking the Spine blog.  It's a great way to share information about a forthcoming title that is on my radar screen with other readers.

 Today's anticipated book:

by Mary Beth Keane

      Publication Date: March 12, 2013
     Publisher:  Scribner
      Preorder now from online and bricks and mortar bookstores

A bold, mesmerizing novel about the woman known as “Typhoid Mary,” the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever in the early twentieth century—by an award-winning writer chosen as one of “5 Under 35” by the National Book Foundation.

Mary Mallon was a courageous, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who bravely came to America alone, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny, and coveted, talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless “medical engineer” proposed the inconceivable notion of the “asymptomatic carrier”—and from then on Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.

In order to keep New York’s citizens safe from Mallon, the Department of Health sent her to North Brother Island where she was kept in isolation from 1907-1910. She was released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary—spoiled by her status and income and genuinely passionate about cooking—most domestic and factory jobs were heinous. She defied the edict.

Bringing early twentieth-century New York alive—the neighborhoods, the bars, the park being carved out of upper Manhattan, the emerging skyscrapers, the boat traffic—Fever is as fiercely compelling as Typhoid Mary herself, an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the hands of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes an extraordinarily dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable character.

My thoughts: This is the second novel for Mary Beth Keane, a talented storyteller whose first book, The Walking People (2009) was a beautifully written story about the Irish immigrant experience.  Keane has chosen a fascinating person, setting, and time period for her forthcoming novel.
Enjoy life with books.


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Waiting on Wednesday--Fever was originally published by Catherine for This post cannot be republished without express written consent.


  1. Nice pick! This books looks really interesting! I love historical fiction.


    1. Thanks, Kendal. I'm also looking forward to your pick, Dan Brown's forthcoming novel.

  2. Hi Catherine! Happy to have discovered your blog! *new follower* I'm a fellow librarian :) I just added this title to my TBR mountain. It sounds perfect for me, as all my favorite novels tend to be of this type. Have you read "Someone Knows My Name" by Lawrence Hill? I'm dying to discuss with someone! Feel free to check me out at

    1. Hi Amie! So happy to hear from you! I did take a look at your blog and liked what I saw (I've got a huge affinity for YA fiction) I am now following you via your blog and Twitter. I have not read "Someone Knows My Name", but you can rest assured that as a fellow librarian I will be giving it a look-see. I love how you describe your TBR as a mountain--much more accurate and honest than what I refer to as my "piles". :-)

  3. This sounds absolutely fascinating! I mean, the entire history of 'Typhoid Mary' just screams for a book, doesn't it? I definitely want to read this!! I hope you enjoy it once it comes out and thanks for stopping by!
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  4. Thanks for your comments, Juli. By the way, I checked out your blog and really like it. I am following Universe in Words now.