Fever 1793 tells the story of Mattie Cook. The story takes place in Philadelphia when yellow fever reached epidemic proportions. Mattie's family runs a coffeehouse, they enjoy the benefits of a successful business until the fever starts to spread. In the city, the fever would spread very quickly, and kill very quickly.
Once yellow fever starts to strike people, thousands become sick and die. Mattie's mother gets sick, Mattie herself gets sick with the fever. Mattie survives, her mother survives and throughout the book, Mattie faces many challenges, through this process, she becomes a mature, responsible young woman.
Fever 1973 tells the story of a young girl. Matilda (Mattie) Cooks lives a normal life in Philadelphia with her widowed mother and grandfather. They reside in the coffee house in which they happily run a profitable business which Mattie plans on improving with time alongside other successful enterprises. However, there is a drastic turn of events with the rumors of an outbreak of a deadly fever. The outbreak of yellow fever, which causes fatalities in the thousands, stirs fear and panic upon everybody. Mattie loses people close to her, including her best friend Polly, and her mother contracts the fever, too. She and her grandfather are forced to move away but along the way she is taken ill as well. Mattie and grandfather eventually return to their city which by now is a death zone with corpses and death carts packed, waiting to make deliveries to the mass graves. Thugs attack Mattie and her grandfather who gets injured and succumbs to his injuries in the process. As Mattie hopelessly walks around, she meets Eliza who then takes her to Mother Smith’s house where she resides until the arrival of the frost which marked the end of the fever. People begin returning to Philadelphia as life goes back to usual with businesses running and the market open. Mattie and Eliza partner up and successfully revive the coffee house before her mother’s return.