Once Upon a Fever by Angharad Walker

Publishing with Chicken House on 7 July 2022

A complex and compelling story of a world ruled by financiers and methics, a world where feelings are to be feared and treated by medicine. A world that seems gothic, unbalanced and unfriendly.

Payton and Ani, sisters, have spent years in King Jude’s hospital, where their father is a methic and their mother lies in a state between life and death. She is held in the Inertia Ward in a water chamber, there due to maternal grief over the loss of a baby. Their father has dedicated his life to finding a cure, Payton has decided she will do the same but Ani, the youngest, needs to control her own overpowering emotion of anger before she can do anything else.

When some new methic discoveries come to light with the Methic Guild Master, Jenipher Blake, it sends the girls down very different paths, both away from their home and each other.

Payton has long admired Blake and desires nothing more than to work and learn under her guidance. Payton holds a secret talent for reading blood and this will open her eyes to the truth of her beliefs. Ani is determined to stay hidden and finds a home within the long abandoned Hyde Gardens, a former Wilder park. She finds an outlet for her anger and a balance she has never known before.

Wilders formed their own guild and protected the green spaces, harvested helpful plants and found balance within nature. There are dangerous plants to be found within these spaces, ones found on the black market for unfathomable purposes.

Each girl is on her own path, ultimately to save their mother, but to find freedom from the dangerous ideas and beliefs of certain methics, including their own father.

At times, dark and dangerous, this book will have you gripped and debating over the fierceness of emotions, the balance we need to thrive and the lengths people will go to in order to save or protect a loved one.

Angharad Walker proved her brilliance with The Ash House and I think Once Upon a Fever will cement this for many readers. This is a must read!

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