Year of Wonders

A Novel of the Plague

Brooks, Geraldine

Book - 2002
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Year of Wonders
This gripping historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village," in the rugged mountain spine of England. In 1666, a tainted bolt of cloth from London carries bubonic infection to this isolated settlement of shepherds and lead miners. A visionary young preacher convinces the villagers to seal themselves off in a deadly quarantine to prevent the spread of disease. The story is told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Anna Frith, the vicar's maid, as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As the death toll rises and people turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna emerges as an unlikely and courageous heroine in the village's desperate fight to save itself.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2002
ISBN: 0142001430
Branch Call Number: FIC B
Characteristics: 308, 11 p. : map ; 20 cm.


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Mar 06, 2015
  • calvoer rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

You only get so much poetic license in a novel, and this author used up hers in the beginning with the main character, a 17th century country scullery maid, narrating the tale in prose that would leave an Oxford scholar in the dust. Half-baked characters delivering gassy speeches, modern sensibilities at odds with archaic customs, the harem ending – let’s just say that the plague is the least ghastly thing about this novel.

Mar 01, 2015
  • InvernessS rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I've read this 3 times since 2002 & consider it Brooks best researched & delivered yet. Eyam is an isolated village in the Peak District, north Derbyshire, ideally suited to isolate a sickness no person understands at the time. The actual site is worth the difficulty in getting there; the churchyard headstones testament to the facts; an imaginative story to the reality. PBS documentary attests to the genetics of the survivors from Eyam. I think it's called the Delta 32 gene.

Jan 07, 2015
  • gerimark rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

set in medieval - pastor & wife key characters helping village deal w/ plague. housemaid is key and loses entire family, but ultimately is a heroine

Dec 30, 2014
  • Audrey1976 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is a great work of historical fiction. The author does a fine job of making the reader feel as though they are experiencing these horrific events first hand. I will say that I hated the ending. I'm not sure how I would have liked it to end, we are talking about the Plague after all, but I was not satisfied. I'm willing to overlook that though, as the story was fascinating.

Jul 31, 2014
  • Janice21383 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Anyone remember Forever Amber, the historical romance in which the heroine personally experiences every significant event in mid-17th century England? The Year of Wonders isn't as bad as that. For one thing, the servant/heroine Anne has a proper name for her time. For another, she doesn't run into the famous, e.g. King Charles II and the court don't flee the plague through her village. And the story focuses on one, naturally eventful year. Even so, the plot is pretty much a laundry list of every dreadful, and sometimes wonderful event that could happen in an isolated village in a plague year. And the ending, while avoiding the obvious "happy" turn, is extremely eye-rolly. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it, because most episodes are well written, but for a better book on the plague, please see Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year.

Apr 21, 2014
  • Recommended by KCLS Librarians rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Based on the true story of Eyam, the “Plague Village”, located in the rugged mountains of England in 1666. As the plague ravages the village fearful villagers react with fear and jealousy as the local healer and the town’s minister try to keep the town from falling into complete chaos. This is a riveting novel that really brings to life the ethical and emotional impact dealing with the plague must bring.

Dec 16, 2013
  • ehbooklover rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was recommended to me by a customer. It's about the English village of Eyam, whose residents attempt to control the spread of The Plague by quarantining themselves. Sounds depressing? That's what I thought at first. But I decided to give it a try anyways and I'm so glad I did. A gripping and beautifully written story that I could not put down.

Dec 03, 2013
  • mooncat rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book and thought it was beautifully written. However I was really disappointed with the ending as I didn't feel it fitting to the story.

Nov 07, 2013
  • CRRL_AdrianaP rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

First, I have to confess that I am a huge fan of Geraldine Brooks and (so far) will 5-star all of her books. To me they are almost perfection. This book is absolutely heartbreaking in so many ways - to go from joy to despair and have the despair last so long - but I loved the journey.

Jul 19, 2012
  • fictionrules rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Book about a plague in England during the 17th century. A small village cuts itself off from the world and deals with a misunderstood medical disaster. Based on a true story and researched by the author while she was on assignment as a reporter. The main character is a strong, resilent young women who almost lost it all. She revels herself to be a highly compassionate and forgiving women of unlimited resourcefulness. Loved it as I do all of this authors work so far. March is also brilliant and worth reading.

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Nov 07, 2013
  • CRRL_AdrianaP rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"How was I to face the days and nights to come? There would be no other relief for me; in my two hands I held my only chance of exit from our village and its agonies."


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