Tag Archives: geraldine brooks

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks: The plague strikes in a tiny village, and its inhabitants decide to quarantine themselves in order to prevent spreading the infection. Anna, a mere housemaid to the rector, becomes an unlikely hero through this tragedy. As time wears on and more people die, the villagers become desperate, turning to superstition and even violence. The story covers the entire event, from the delivery of the infected bolt of cloth to the reopening of the village all the way to Anna’s life afterward. When I think of the plague I usually think Middle Ages; this took place in 1666, well after the first colonies in America were founded. Even so, medicine was still quite primitive, consisting of barber-surgeons with their leeches and wise women with their herbs. Perhaps most fascinating is the afterword, where the author reveals that her story was based on the real village of Eyam who made a similar decision to cut themselves off from the rest of the world. In addition to the history, there is a lot of discussion of faith in the face of adversity, the role of women in society, and the nature of disease as it was known at the time. There’s quite a lot of story packed into this slim volume. Definitely recommended.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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