“Audio book performed by Emily Bergl
In 1793 an epidemic of yellow fever severely affected the population of Philadelphia, then the capital of the United States. Anderson crafts a very good work of historical fiction based on the actual events. The young heroine is Mattie Cook. Barely out of childhood, Mattie lives with her widowed mother and her grandfather above the family’s coffeehouse and grudgingly helps around the house and shop. But as disease spreads among the population, Mattie finds that she has to take on more and more responsibility, and use every ounce of her strength, resolve, ambition and determination to survive and thrive. Not everything goes her way and there is much hardship to endure, including illness and separation from her family.
I really like how Anderson has given us a strong heroine who survives by her wits and hard work. Matilda truly matures in the course of the novel, yet remains true to her basic personality.
The audio book is capably performed by Emily Bergl, whose voice brings 18th-century Philadelphia to life. Both the text and the audio versions include an appendix which outlines basic historical facts about the epidemic and history of the country in that time period.