Linda Dominique Grosvenor’s Fever is the sequel to her novel Like Boogie on Tuesday, but for those who haven’t read the first book, Fever works as a stand alone novel. Five African American people are the focus of this book, two couples and one widow.
Tim Richardson is an up-and-coming film director who lives in Los Angeles. His wife, Nina, is from New York, and she misses it a lot. She's bored after giving up her career to move with him to the West Coast. Now she’s finding that she never sees Tim anymore. She spends her days at home with no vehicle to take her places. Instead, she’s gaining weight and feeling sorry for herself. Tim is too busy with his career to give her any of his time. She can’t remember when they’ve last been intimate; when he’s home, he’s too tired for anything or is so busy he takes his work to bed. When Nina complains to him about their marriage, he turns it around and tries to make her feel guilty for even bringing up the subject.
Carla and Sam are going through a rough marriage. They started their relationship on a wrong note when she was found fooling around with another man during their engagement, but Sam doesn't know the entire story. Sam forgave Carla for her infidelity, and they married. After her child was born, she experienced post-partum depression; a few years later, she is still very depressed and fragile. Sam doesn't know what to do about her. She refuses to go to counseling and nothing anyone suggests seems to appeal to Carla. Sam loves her very much, but does not know how much more he can deal with her depression, especially since she refuses to seek help.
In the meantime, Sam and his sister-in-law Troi are getting closer. Troi is a widow, and her husband Vaughn was Sam's brother. Vaughn died of AIDS, and Troi is still trying to get over the tragedy and what his infidelities did to their marriage. She will always love Vaughn despite everything, but she also finds herself attracted to her brother-in-law. Sam is definitely off-limits as a married man, but he constantly comes over to her house to help her out around the house or to see that she is doing alright. The attraction is mutual, and Troi is worried that one day they may step over that line.
Each chapter focuses on one set of characters in somewhat the way Eric Jerome Dickey writes his novels. I like this method of storytelling, with things slowly coming together as the book progresses. What I didn't like is the length of the novel: it was much too short. Being a sequel, it is possible that there was more character development in the first novel. Having said that, not having read the first book was not a problem. Fever contains everything the reader should know about the characters, but one may feel that there could have been more done with the characters in this book.
I hope to read the first book to see how it compares to Fever, which is itself a well-written story of five people whose lives intermingle with each other. The only real complaint is the length of the book, and along those lines, the endings of each mini-story could have been drawn out a little longer. Things are resolved for all the characters in the novel, but it may have been done a bit too quickly. Linda Dominique Grosvenor is definitely an author to watch, for those who enjoying reading African American lit.