Year of Wonders
a Novel of the Plague
By (author) Geraldine Brooks
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Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Book DescriptionFrom the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'March' and 'People of the Book'. A young woman's struggle to save her family and her soul during the extraordinary year of 1666, when plague suddenly struck a small Derbyshire village. In 1666, plague swept through London, driving the King and his court to Oxford, and Samuel Pepys to Greenwich, in an attempt to escape contagion. The north of England remained untouched until, in a small community of leadminers and hill farmers, a bolt of cloth arrived from the capital. The tailor who cut the cloth had no way of knowing that the damp fabric carried with it bubonic infection. So begins the Year of Wonders, in which a Pennine village of 350 souls confronts a scourge beyond remedy or understanding. Desperate, the villagers turn to sorcery, herb lore, and murderous witch-hunting. Then, led by a young and charismatic preacher, they elect to isolate themselves in a fatal quarantine. The story is told through the eyes of Anna Frith who, at only 18, must contend with the death of her family, the disintegration of her society, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit attraction. Geraldine Brooks's novel explores love and learning, fear and fanaticism, and the struggle of 17th century science and religion to deal with a seemingly diabolical pestilence. 'Year of Wonders' is also an eloquent memorial to the real-life Derbyshire villagers who chose to suffer alone during England's last great plague.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781841154589
(197mm x 130mm x 23mm)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 2-Apr-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
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UK Kirkus Review » This is a haunting book that comes back to loiter in the mind, as do the questions 'What would I have done? Would I have been so brave?'. Based on the true happenings in the Derbyshire village of Eyam, which in 1666 deliberately closed its boundaries to the rest of the country in the hope of containing the plague within the community, the story is told by Anna, whose husband died in a mine accident, and whose two children succumb to the plague. With neighbours dying all around her Anna becomes a helpmate to the Vicar, Mr Mompellion, the originator of the 'wide green prison' idea, and his fragile wife, Elinor. The two women try to fortify the villagers with herbal potions and give help to those suffering. Suspicion, enmity and accusations of witchcraft are rife as the village folk thrash against their fate in their closed and doomed world. The horrors of tending to the dying and sharing the enormous burden of grief make Anna and Elinor's relationship than normal friendship. But there is more loss for Anna, and when the disease passes over, the village has changed and she has to deal with a new and immediate danger which means she can never feel safe in her home country again. Beautifully written with a real sense for the rhythms of 17th-century speech, the novel evokes great empathy for the characters, and an atmostphere of haunting mystery. Despite all the horrors that occur, the courage displayed by many in the village and the sense of life beginning anew at the end of the book make the title a truly appropriate one. (Kirkus UK)
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Book Review: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - Reviewed by rachthevego (10 Jun 2011)
This is a well researched work of historical fiction that is appealing and disturbing in parts. It gives real insight into the life of the people in a plague affected village.
It is memorable and is a book you will probably want to read again. The characters are believable and likeable and you will want to read on to follow their journey.
Geraldine Brooks is an extremely versatile and skilled writer and this book will have you addicted to her works (both fiction and non fiction).
The author gives explanation of the roots of her research and the characters and villages that the story was based around. This enhances the readers imagination.
Book Review: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - Reviewed by cosminxU (28 Jan 2010)
an absolutely stunning and compelling novel! the characters are wonderful - flawed, yet capable of acts of great courage and compassion - and although the story being told is often tragic, it's narrated with great tenderness without being the least sentimental. the last couple of chapters held a great twist, and the ending was surprisingly optimistic. i've had this book on my shelf for just over two years - so glad i finally got around to reading it!!
Author Biography - Geraldine Brooks
Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in Sydney's western suburbs. In 1982 she won a scholarship to the journalism master's program at Columbia University in New York. Later she worked for the WALL STREET JOURNAL, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. In 2006 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel MARCH. Her novels CALEB'S CROSSING and PEOPLE OF THE BOOK were both NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers, and YEAR OF WONDERS and PEOPLE OF THE BOOK are international bestsellers, translated into more than 25 languages. She is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction works NINE PARTS OF DESIRE and FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE. In 2011 she presented Australia's prestigious Boyer Lectures, later published as THE IDEA OF HOME.
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