I am still a new reader to Anderson’s books so when this became available through my library, I snagged it up. It is a historical fiction novel based on the true Yellow Fever outbreak that took place in Philadelphia 1793. I couldn’t wait to read! Sadly, what I read left me a little perplexed and wondering what was going on.
Short recap: Mattie is a young girl in 1793 and has her whole life ahead of her. Everything changes when people started getting sick and quickly died of what was being called Yellow Fever. There was no known cure and it could strike anyone at anytime. Mattie has lost her family when trying to leave the city. She pulls herself up by her bootstraps and goes on a mission to protect herself at all costs while trying to find her family to make sure they are okay.
I was fascinated to read a story based on actual events in US History. Sadly, what I read was sort of boring. This was not terrible or even horrible, it was just a rather boring story in my eyes. I felt bad for Mattie, being 14 and going through what she went through, but I never truly connected with her character. Maybe that is because I’m not the type of girl that dreams of catching the eye of a certain boy and opening a coffee shop when I grow up. Mattie was a good enough character in my eyes but perhaps I wanted a little more tenacity from her. I wanted her to become this badass that helped everyone and everything thing. Instead, she was constantly asking everyone else’s opinion because she didn’t want to upset anyone. That could also be because of the year and women are raised to be meek and quiet. That’s not me so I wanted more from her.
From the research I’ve done, this story stayed pretty spot on accurate to events of the actual epidemic. Anderson did not push the envelope nor did she jump any boundaries. What she wrote was just too drawn out and it lost my interest a couple of times. In the end, if felt rather unresolved. As if magically the illness just went away with no explanation as to where it came from, how it spread, what treatment should have been, nada. It simply ends and everyone is happy again. Sorry, but I have questions. A lot of questions, actually.
I was hoping for a little more from this one. I’m not upset that I read it, but I am upset that it was hundreds of pages of someone getting sick, that person is nursed and gets better, another person gets sick, that person is nursed then gets better, and so on and so on and so on. If you do give this one a try, proceed with caution.