It's in the tender, detailed portrayal of willed ignorance collapsing in the face of truth that Mary Beth Keane has made of Mary Mallon's life a fine novel of moral blindness, and also remorse, of a sort.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Mary Beth Keane inhabits Typhoid Mary in the infectiously readable Fever.
In Mary Beth Keane's wholly absorbing, deeply moving new novel, Mallon emerges as a woman of fierce intelligence and wrongheaded conviction.... Transforming a lived past into riveting fiction, Keane gives us a novel that thrums with life, and a heroine whose regrets, though entirely specific, feel utterly familiar.
THE BOSTON GLOBE
Keane not only makes of the headstrong Mary a sympathetic figure, she also brings the New York City of the early 20th century to teeming life, sweeping the readers into the crowded apartment buildings, filthy bars, and dangerous sweatshops of Upper Manhattan. Mostly movingly of all, she tells a great love story in depicting Mary and Alfred's flawed but passionate relationship. A fascinating, often heartbreaking novel.
BOOKLIST (STARRED REVIEW)
Keane has replaced the "Typhoid Mary" cliche with a memorable and emotional human story.
Fever is a gripping, morally provocative story of love and survival that will take you by surprise at every turn. It is also a radiant portrait of a uniquely indomitable woman and of a uniquely tumultuous time in the history of our country. Bravely and brilliantly, Keane has brought to life the intimate human tragedy obscured by the scornful cliche 'Typhoid Mary'; you will never utter those words again without remembering, and mourning, the real Mary Mallon.
Fever manages to rescue a demonized woman from history and humanize her brilliantly. Mary Beth Keane brings to light a moving love story behind the headlines, and she carries the reader forward with such efficiency, you will hardly notice how graceful are her sentences and how entwined you have become with this fascinating, heartbreaking story.
Like the silent carrier who is its heroine, this novel is so quietly assured that you won’t suspect it capable of transmitting such violence. It will seize you with its breathtaking intensity, its authority, and its beating heart.