The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh (Viking, £12.99)
This book has created both huge amounts of feverish excitement and early fans in established writers including Julian Fellowes. It's 1880 and following her father's death, Frances Irvine is forced from her life of London privilege to a far less polished existence in the Cape of South Africa, a country made fragile by the rapacious self-interest of its inhabitants. Once there, two men divide her heart, but her own private war of passion versus integrity can only be resolved when she is drawn into darkly serious circumstances beyond her personal dilemma, to do with the local diamond mines. Epic, enchanting, emotional and engrossing, this is a glorious spring read.
- Beatrice Hodgkin, Easy Living Culture Editor