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Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks

Paperback

Published: 23rd October 2002
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A young woman's struggle to save her family and her soul during the most extraordinary year of 1666, when plague suddenly visited a small Derbyshire village and the villagers, inspired by a charismatic preacher, elected to quarantine themselves to limit the contagion.

In 1666, plague scorched London, driving the King and his court to Oxford, and Samuel Pepys to Greenwich, 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 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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Year of Wonders
 
4.5

(based on 4 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (2)

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    (2)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Captures time and place (3)
  • Interesting characters (3)
  • Original story (3)
  • Well written (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Everyday reader (3)

Reviewed by 4 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

My go to gift

By 

from Sydney

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer
Staff Reviewer

Pros

  • Captures Time And Place
  • Easy To Understand
  • Educational
  • Interesting Characters
  • Original Story
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift

    Comments about Year of Wonders:

    I loved this book. It was about a period of time I knew little about and I feel I am more informed after reading it. Geraldine is able to immerse you inside the characters and their trials and tribulations. She is an amazing historical fiction writer. I have given this book multiple times as a gift.

     
    4.0

    This book brought for my daughter

    By 

    from Vic australia

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift

        Comments about Year of Wonders:

        Brought for school next year

         
        4.0

        Didn't want to put it down

        By 

        from Australia

        About Me Everyday Reader

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Captures Time And Place
        • Great For Anyone
        • Interesting Characters
        • Original Story
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Travel Reading
          • Younger Readers

          Comments about Year of Wonders:

          I love Geraldine Brooks, and for me she delivered again with this book. Beautifully written a heart wrenching story that keeps you totally captivated.

           
          5.0

          Historical fiction at its best

          By 

          from Sydney

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Pros

          • Captures Time And Place
          • Easy To Understand
          • Educational
          • Great For Anyone
          • Interesting Characters
          • Original Story
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about Year of Wonders:

              Another wonderful Geraldine Brooks novel, this time based around a plague outbreak in Derbyshire, England in 1665/66. Wonderful imagery and descriptive writing takes the reader back to this terrible time when the people of a small village had to deal with the decimation of their population through this horrible disease. Historical fiction at its best based on a true story of the villagers of Eyam, I would definitely recommend this book.

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              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)

              Geraldine Brooks

              Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, attending Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.

              In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. In 1990, with her husband Tony Horwitz, she won the Overseas Press Club Award for best coverage of the Gulf War. The following year they received a citation for excellence for their series, “War and Peace.”  In 2006 she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University.

              She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March. Her  novels, Caleb’s Crossing and People of the Book, were  New York Times best sellers. Her first novel, Year of Wonders is an an international bestseller, translated into more than 25 languages and currently optioned for a major motion picture starring Andrew Lincoln. She is also the author of the non-fiction works Nine Parts of Desire, Foreign Correspondence and The Idea of Home.

              Visit Geraldine Brooks's Booktopia Author Page


              ISBN: 9781841154589
              ISBN-10: 184115458X
              Audience: General
              Format: Paperback
              Language: English
              Number Of Pages: 336
              Published: 23rd October 2002
              Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
              Country of Publication: GB
              Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.0  x 2.1
              Weight (kg): 0.23