Years of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

Years of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Geraldine Brooks

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
  • Format: Paperback | 11 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 196mm x 20mm | 245g
  • Publication date: 31 May 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Hawthorn
  • ISBN 10: 0142001430
  • ISBN 13: 9780142001431
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 20,327

Product description

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "March" and "Caleb's Crossing"--an unforgettable tale of a brave young woman during the plague in 17th century England 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 1666, 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. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing "an inspiring heroine" (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.

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Author information

Geraldine Brooks is the author of Year of Wonders and the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Previously, Brooks was a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, stationed in Bosnia, Somalia, and the Middle East. END

Customer reviews

By Fiona 14 Mar 2010 3

The year is 1666 and the tell tale signs of the plague start to creep through the town of Eyam, Derbyshire. To limit the spread of the disease the town goes into self-imposed quarantine. Housemaid Anna Frith takes on the essential role of healer and listener to the sick. Working unceasingly to cure their ills she's faced with death and destruction of human decency. As the death toll creeps higher to the point were for every one person walking the earth there are two buried below it - the townspeople are at their wits end, driven mad with isolation and suspicion. For a subject as dark and cruel as the plague, Brooks has a lyrical and almost beautiful manner of expressing the growing unease. While the book is essentially about death, it is incredibly readable and balanced out with small moments of joy and hope. The reader can find solace in Anna Frith's growing confidence in her role as a healer. Brooks captures the period with deft skill, melding historical fact with a gripping storyline. Though the story suddenly changes pace in the final quarter of the book, it was almost as if Brooks was trying to reel in the many threads of the storyline to neatly fit into the one year period. There is also an unnecessary epilogue, which while a fabulous and quirky ending, could have been much better explored in a sequel. Overall "Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" is well worth reading.

Review quote

"The novel glitters . . . A deep imaginative engagement with how people are changed by catastrophe." --The New Yorker "Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair." --O, The Oprah Magazine "Brooks proves a gifted storyteller as she subtly reveals how ignorance, hatred and mistrust can be as deadly as any virus. . . . Year of Wonders is itself a wonder." --People "A glimpse into the strangeness of history that simultaneously enables us to see a reflection of ourselves." --The New York Times Book Review "Elegant and engaging." --Arthur Golden "Year of Wonders has it all: strong characters, a trememdous sense of time and place, a clearly defined heroine and a dastardly villain." --The Denver Post