When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer Through Anna s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of , as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a year of wonders Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history Year of Wonders tells the story of Anna, a servant to a pastor, and how she emotionally and physically survives the plague while the majority of her village falls ill around her.I was enthralled I listened to the audiobook on my daily commute and it was fantastic.You get the very real drama of life in a small village mixed with the the despair that must have accompanied the plague There s finger pointing, people taking advantage of other s need and, above all, the need to rationalize why all o Year of Wonders tells the story of Anna, a servant to a pastor, and how she emotionally and physically survives the plague while the majority of her village falls ill around her.I was enthralled I listened to the audiobook on my daily commute and it was fantastic.You get the very real drama of life in a small village mixed with the the despair that must have accompanied the plague There s finger pointing, people taking advantage of other s need and, above all, the need to rationalize why all of the deaths were occurring.My favorite part of this book was when Anna stopped in the middle of her hectic life to reconsider how she viewed God She uses common sense reasoning to pick apart why a deity would allow such tragedy to occur and then wonders why the young are taken rather than the old.She comes to the conclusion that what s happening is a biological thing rather than a divine thing Then, once she has that straight in her mind, she s better equipped to handle everybody else s irrational responses to the plague without being bogged down by her own.Anna is a great heroine She has her flaws a flirtation with opium addiction to dull her grief and a crush on someone else s husband but she tries to be a good person Mainly, she s just overwhelmed by what s going on and wants to feel loved and safe.She cares for the ill, helps an orphaned child hold on to her family s lead mine and tries to help her village keep body and soul together.The ending of Year of Wonders was incredibly shocking to me, but in a good way Geraldine Brooks stayed true to her characters but took the story in such an unexpected direction, that I had to turn it off for awhile to absorb what I had just heard.Highly recommended for book clubs or people who love historical fiction Year of Wonders is wonderous indeed Rarely has a book so captivated and then disappointed me with such a 180 turn to what I called utter dreckage Year of Wonders managed to do this, infortunately.In order to review, I have to break the book up between pages so that you can see where the trainwreck happened for me, and why I m so PO ed I could almost cry.REVIEW FOR PAGES 1 255Rating 5 stars I d give it 10 stars if Goodreads had that designation, but since 5 stars means it was amazing, then 5 stars it is Year of Wonders Pag Rarely has a book so captivated and then disappointed me with such a 180 turn to what I called utter dreckage Year of Wonders managed to do this, infortunately.In order to review, I have to break the book up between pages so that you can see where the trainwreck happened for me, and why I m so PO ed I could almost cry.REVIEW FOR PAGES 1 255Rating 5 stars I d give it 10 stars if Goodreads had that designation, but since 5 stars means it was amazing, then 5 stars it is Year of Wonders Pages 1 255 is a beautiful, incredibly moving fictional account of a real event that happened in Eyam Eem , Derbyshire, England in 1665 1666 Today, road signs point out the direction to Plague Village , so I think you get the idea of where this story is going to go.The villagers of Eyam were ground zero for an outbreak of bubonic plague that had apparently been introduced to the remote village from flea infested bolts of cloth brought into the town Best guess estimates of the population in 1665 set it around 380 villagers By the fall of 1666, only about 120 were left While people all over London and other places in England were hurriedly leaving the areas of plague infection, the villagers of Eyam, under the strong guidance of their pastor Michael Mompellion, decided to stay put, self quarantine themselves and ride out the storm They saw it as a test of their faith and trust toward God, and felt that they would be blessed beyond all measure once the plague left them.Author Geraldine Brooks tells this story through the eyes of Anna, a young widow with 2 very small children to support Anna s role in helping Michael Mompellion and his high born wife Elinor shines the light on all that was the very best of human nature during a time of crisis, as well as what was the very worst in human beings stretched physically, emotionally and spiritually beyond their endurance Brooks married the two extremes so well, weaving a highly readable tale of immense pain, degradation, fear, and ultimately faith I was appalled later, when I googled Eyam , to learn that many of the incidences Brooks used in the book were true Human beings definitely have the capacity for both extreme nobility of spirit, as well as extreme barbarism.If Brooks had left the story of the plague village at page 255, I would have happily accorded this wonderful book a cherished slot in my bulging bookcase and marked it as favorite on these, my Goodreads shelves Alas, the book was 304 pages long Therefore, we come to book review within a review BOOK REVIEW FOR PAGE 256 304Rating 1 star My feeling for these final 50 pages can best be summed up by the word aaaarrrggghhh Year of Wonders Page 256 304 must be read in connection with the first 255 pages to be fully believed It is EPIC FAIL at it s most EPIC It is so crammed with schlocky, hokey, trite piles of plot shite that I can hardly believe that it s written by the same author as my beloved book, Year of Wonders Page 1 255 How is this possible Did Brooks suddenly seize up and hand over the pen to some Harlequin romance writer please, no PO d posts by Harlequin fans I happen to enjoy Harlequins in small doses myself, but there IS a difference in quality between the two writing mediums.What Brooks did so perfectly in pages 1 255, she completely decimated in pages 256 304 Was she attempting to pull off her own mini plague by killing off all the good and noble and faithful ideas her story fostered WTH happened to plot continuity To the characters I am so confused by her ending that I don t even know what to say about it, except that view spoiler I M PISSED, PISSED, PISSED hide spoiler and I know I need to calm down and go drink some herbal teaback from my herbal tea break OK, so now I ve come to the end of my rambling, stupid review I ve had a chance to read some 1 and 2 star reviews from othergifted GR reviewers, and I see that they did a 100% better job of detailing why this book had so much ruined potential, so I ll just stop My Tom died as babies do, gently and without complaint Because they have been such a little time with us, they seem to hold to life but weakly I used to wonder if it was so because the memory of Heaven still lived within them, so that in leaving here they do not fear death as we do, who no longer know with certainty where it is our spirits go This, I thought, must be the kindness that God does for them and for us, since He gives so many infants such a little while to bide with us 1666 was My Tom died as babies do, gently and without complaint Because they have been such a little time with us, they seem to hold to life but weakly I used to wonder if it was so because the memory of Heaven still lived within them, so that in leaving here they do not fear death as we do, who no longer know with certainty where it is our spirits go This, I thought, must be the kindness that God does for them and for us, since He gives so many infants such a little while to bide with us 1666 was not a good year for England with bubonic plague killing 100,000 people followed by The Great Fire of London which destroyed 80% of London or about 13,000 homes It is hard for us to conceive of a disease that can show up one day and within a few short months kill 75% of the people we know To survive is fortuitous, but to actually acquire the disease and survive is nothing short of miraculous The first signs were bulges at the groin called buboes Can you imagine the bone chilling fear that would course through your body at the first appearance of such bulges George Viccars, a tailor, made a very innocuous decision to order a bolt of cloth from London He used the cloth to make fashionable dresses for the ladies of Eyam little did he know the cloth was infested with plague carrying fleas The plague kills Viccars first and spreads quickly from family to family taking the youngest and fittest in greatest numbers William Mompellion, the minister of the shire, makes the heroic decision to quarantine the town and contain the contagion Through the eyes of Anna Frith we are exposed to the devastating effects of fear and loss on the small community Death brings opportunity to some and sends others into object poverty Anna, though besot by her own demons, does the best she can to not only survive her personal losses, but also make the fateful decision to devout her life providing help and succor to those who need it most The midwives, medicine women, who command a deep knowledge of herbs and roots that would provide the most help during an outbreak of a deadly disease are the first to be treated with distrust Their knowledge is looked on as magical well beyond the understanding of an under educated population You would have thought these women had green skin and made grand statements likeI ll get you my pretty , but they were just women interested in understanding the world around them and making the best use of what nature providedAnd so, as generally happens, those who have most give least, and those with less somehow make shrift to shareThe rich flee Eyam and the rest stay, intent on riding out the worst of the contagion They had no conception of just how horrible things were going to get This is based on a true story The book shows people at their very best and their very worst It made me consider what I would do Could I be as brave as Anna Could I support the leadership of a Minister intent on keeping me and my family in harms way Could I help those already infected There are many things to admire in this tale The ending though is odd I notice that other reviewers mentioned the ending and I agree it was unexpected, but maybe we are all just underestimating the courage and determination of one woman Two other plague novels that I really liked are Company Of Liars by Karen Maitland and The Pesthouse by Jim Crace I have no reviews for them unfortunately, because I read them before finding the wonderful community of goodreads Company of Liars is told in a similar vein to Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales and Pesthouse is a postapocalyptic America regressed to Medieval conditions If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at I would have given this a higher rating if not for the strange ending.
- 318 pages
- Year of Wonders
- Geraldine Brooks
- 13 July 2019 Geraldine Brooks