Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fever Season - The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings on Friday

     It's fun to step outside my usual genre and read something completely different, and that certainly applies to Fever Season. The protagonist in this story is "a free man of color" (Benjamin January), living in New Orleans in 1833, not long before the War Between the States. He is a physician and a musician, but his life is filled with uncertainty because of his race. 
     The story fascinated me, and I learned a lot about the realities of that time and place while being caught up in the mystery. Fever Season is the second book in the thirteen-book Benjamin January series. 

Book Beginning:
     In fever season, traffic in the streets was thin. Those who could afford to do so had left New Orleans with the ending of Lent; those who could not had all through the long summer hurried about their business as if Bronze John, as they called the sickness, were a creditor one could avoid if one kept off the streets.
     Midday, the molten September heat raised steam from the water in the French town's cypress-lined gutters and the rain puddles in the soupy streets. Mephitic light filtered through clouds of steamboat soot from the levees and gave the town the look of a grimy but inexplicably pastel-walled hell. Only those whose errands were pressing walked the streets then.
[Can't you just feel the oppressive humidity and the fear of yellow fever?]

The Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
He felt a little safer, this close to New Orleans, but never ceased to listen before him and behind. Each time he heard the crunch of hooves approaching from either direction he quickly left the oyster-shell pathway and waited in the woods until whoever was passing him had vanished from sight.

Genre: Mystery / Historical
Length: 417 Pages
Amazon Link: Fever Season
Author's Website: Barbara Hambly

Synopsis from Amazon:
     Benjamin January made his debut in bestselling author Barbara Hambly's A Free Man of Color, a haunting mélange of history and mystery. Now he returns in another novel of greed, madness, and murder amid the dark shadows and dazzling society of old New Orleans, named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.
     The summer of 1833 has been one of brazen heat and brutal pestilence, as the city is stalked by Bronze John—the popular name for the deadly yellow fever epidemic that tests the healing skills of doctor and voodoo alike. Even as Benjamin January tends the dying at Charity Hospital during the steaming nights, he continues his work as a music teacher during the day.
     When he is asked to pass a message from a runaway slave to the servant of one of his students, January finds himself swept into a tempest of lies, greed, and murder that rivals the storms battering New Orleans. And to find the truth he must risk his freedom...and his very life.

FYI: This versatile author has written fantasy, romance, science fiction, mystery, and vampire stories. 

Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
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Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger


  1. I bet I would like this book. I enjoy reading books that teach me something, too.

  2. This sounds fascinating! Like you, I think it's great to step out of my zone, specifically in terms of reading. So much to learn:)

  3. Sounds interesting- I love historical fiction, and getting some facts with my entertainment!

  4. I've spent quite a lot of time in New Orleans during the summer and it's brutal even with air condition and not having to worry about Yellow Fever or any of the other illnesses. I can definitely imagine what it must have been like in 1833!

  5. This sounds really interesting - the period this book was written in is fairly unique and anytime New Orleans serves as a backdrop to a story things get mysterious. Thanks for visiting my Friday post

  6. The excerpts really brought me into that world and the fears that clung to them...I could almost feel the steam from the water.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  7. I love reading books like this too and should do it more often. The best part is learning new facts if the author does some good research.

    Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your read.

    Here's my 56 -

  8. Hi,
    Sounds like a book I would enjoy.
    Have a great day!

  9. That beginning is wonderfully written. Looks like a fantastic read.

  10. Just reading that opening made me perspire! There's nothing quite as sultry as a summer day in New Orleans. I can't imagine battling the humidity and the threat of Yellow Fever back in the 1800s.

  11. Sounds interesting. I might pick it up.

  12. Sounds interesting though not really for me, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    Friday Memes

  13. I have enjoyed all the books of this series that I've read. I feel like I've missed a couple though and should try to catch up. This week I am spotlighting The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan and Once Shadows Fall by Robert Daniels. Happy reading!

  14. This book sounds VERY good.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  15. I really like the descriptiveness of the beginning.

  16. History with a mystery and a deadly illness sounds like a intriguing mix. I will have to watch for this one. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Friday.

  17. I would really like this one. Some great sounds have come from New Orleans. Thanks for sharing!

  18. This sounds like a really diverse writer who must be really talented to have tackled so many genres. Hope you enjoy the weekend!

  19. Sounds good. I've read this author before and enjoyed her book. Have a great weekend!

  20. Hi Sandra,

    Yet another new-to-me author to add to my list! I'm not saying that I would read anything other than this particular series though, as many of the other genres Barbara writes in, are not among my favourites. However, as I have 7 books in the 'Benjamin January' series to catch up on, I think I can cope with that :)

    I don't know whether you felt that this, the second book in the series, works well as a stand alone, but I am quite tempted to start the series right from the beginning.

    I love the descriptive quality of the writing, although yellow fever isn't something I really want to risk catching, as it sounds horrendous. Luckily for me, I am not a huge fan of the heat (Florida in winter is about ny limit), so the chances of me visiting any of the countries vulnerable to the disease is very remote!

    Thanks for sharing such a interesting book and have a good weekend :)


  21. This sounds very good - I like the detail! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  22. I love the descriptive writing, it really puts you in the moment!
    Happy weekend!

  23. This sounds like a book for my reading list. I love anything to do with New Orleans, voodoo and murder. To step outside a normal reading genre can be risky but often worth it. A good book is a good book, no matter the genre. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    sherry @ fundinmental My Sunday Memes

  24. I've read the first three and definitely plan to continue reading the series. Totally agree that Hambly really puts you in the scene. Such fascinating times in New Orleans - the town is like another character in the book, more so than any other series I can think of off-hand.

  25. This sounds like a real suspense novel — full of setting and surprises. I think I'd really enjoy reading it. Thanks for that. Here's my opening/teaser for today — in keeping with the season:


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