In 1789, Armande, a wet nurse known for the mystical qualities of her breast milk, goes missing from her mountain village.
Céleste, a cunning servant girl who Armande once saved from shame and starvation, sets out to find her. A snuffbox found in the snow, the unexpected arrival of a gentleman and the discovery of the wet nurse’s diary, deepen the mystery. Using Armande’s diary as a map to her secret past, Céleste fights to save her from those plotting to steal the wisdom of her milk.
Milk Fever is a rich and inspired tale set on the eve of the French Revolution—a delicious peek into this age’s history. The story explores the fight for women’s rights and the rise in clandestine literature laying bare sexuality, the nature of love and the magic of books to transform lives.
Lissa M. Cowan's book is proudly published by Demeter Press, an independent feminist press committed to publishing peer-reviewed scholarly work, fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction on mothering, reproduction, sexuality and family.
“While set in the 18th century, Milk Fever raises questions relevant today.”
“Cowan's debut novel invokes powerful metaphors about devouring ideas, reading people, and cherishing books as if they were human....”
“Anything can happen in these pages: revolution, love, mysticism, even betrayal.”
—Jen Sookfong Lee, Canadian broadcaster & novelist
“Poetry and magic realism pervade the text, but, for me, the earthly portrayal of mothering and its significance to society was the heart of the book.”
—Historical Novel Society
“Milk Fever is a sensuous and subversive novel, set at a time when printed books were beginning to change the world.”
—Kathy Page, British-Canadian writer and author of Giller-nominated Paradise & Elsewhere