Year of Wonders

Year of Wonders

A Novel of the Plague

Book - 2001
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"When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated mountain village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes, we follow the story of the plague year, 1666, as her fellow villagers make an extraordinary choice. Convinced by a visionary young minister, they elect to quarantine themselves within the village boundaries to arrest the spread of the disease. But as death reaches into every household, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes, instead, annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders.' Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged mountain spine of England. Year of Wonders is a detailed evocation of a singular moment in history."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2001.
ISBN: 9780670910212
067091021X
Characteristics: 308 p. : map ; 24 cm.

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IndyPL_SherryU May 20, 2020

I read Year of Wonders before COVID-19 was a blip on the radar. The idea that a village would have the collective strength and consideration for others they might come into contact with intrigued me. I never thought that a quarantine was in my future, but 2020 has been a year of new experiences for all of us.

I enjoyed this book very much, liked the plot, characters and setting, but then I am a sucker for historical fiction. As others have noted, the story does start to fizzle toward the end of the tale, not enough for me to stop reading, though! In fact, I enjoyed Year of Wonders enough that I also read People of the Book by this author.

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ranXerox
Jan 03, 2020

I liked the book, but the last third seemed far too full of twists and turns and took the story away from a woman's contemplation and reflection on death, religion and duty to something that comes much too close to a romance novel.
A Goodreads review of the Mistress of Death by Ariana Franklin reminds me of the other problem I had with this book and other recent entries in the genre; the heroine invariably looks a lot like a liberated woman with very modern and very liberal values. I'm sorry to say that this seems rather endemic to recent female historical fiction writers (The Golden Mean, Sweet Girl, Mistress, etc).
That's why I LOVE Hilary Mantel. (and you should too!) She lets her characters be of their time.
I'm less disturbed by the marketing necessity of a "modern woman" than I am about packing the book full of exploits in the last third of it - "and then... and then... and then..." - which really upends the slow and thoughtfully paced interiority of the first sections.
It's a pleasant enough read and very well researched, but it doesn't come anywhere close to her very excellent "March".

Tigard_DeidraM Jul 26, 2019

I loved this book! Very engaging story...if you like dark, fictionalized history, this might appeal to you. Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite writers.

juliarosewaters Sep 13, 2018

I enjoyed 90% of this book, but the end was bizarre and disastrous! :/

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lilypad_1
Jan 02, 2018

This is a compelling read. Despite the overall topic of bubonic plague I had a hard time putting this down. The brutality of living in this time is overwhelming by itself but putting the plague on top of it is almost too much to much to read about when wanting an escape from our times. The heroine of this historical fiction constantly finds more strength within to make her keep going and help others when her own existence is so precarious. Her search for knowledge is inspiring and explains why I continue to want to learn also. I want to read more from this author.

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brendapittsley
Jul 05, 2017

Quite by accident I took this novel with me on a trip to Sweden and Estonia, places that put the plague in historical context. I was in the library looking for a book that was "lightweight" to carry and "airplane readable," so my standards weren't very high. But this literary story formed a perfect backdrop while visiting the medieval Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia, and the many historical museums in Stockholm, all of which touch on plague events experienced locally and the horrific "treatments" employed trying to stop the scourge. The novel is full of surprises and some depictions, though historically accurate, are emotionally challenging. I was engrossed down to the final, uplifting sentence, which made the perfect coda to the story's journey.

LPL_ShirleyB May 13, 2016

This book is an elegantly written feminist view of a gothic period in English history, based on actual events. A movie based on this book is currently in production. In addition to this single copy of the book, we have a book club in a bag kit and a downloadable audiobook read by the author.

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LadyJaneBrais
Jan 16, 2016

Outstanding historical novel, based on true events in 1665 England. This novel is a true gem and captured me before the first chapter was read. My thanks to the readers who leave comments on books, as they have steered me to new books and new authors every week.

PimaLib_MaryG Dec 07, 2015

An amazing novel about a town that quarantined itself as the residents died off from the Bubonic Plague to prevent it from spreading. The town is real - there is a historical marker, but not much is known so author Brooks used it as the basis for a richly crafted tale that drew me right in.

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hildesanders
Oct 01, 2015

Beautifully written book! I would have given Geraldine Brooks 5 stars but I didn't like the end of the book. I'd rather she hadn't moved to a foreign country and raise her child to never be able to reconnect with her birth family.

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CRRL_AdrianaP Nov 07, 2013

"How was I to face the days and nights to come? There would be no other relief for me; in my two hands I held my only chance of exit from our village and its agonies."

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