Year of Wonders

Year of WondersYear of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would have given this 5 stars except for the rather unbelievable ending. Already taking historical license with facts and characters to create melodrama, it kind of jumped the shark at that point. But I loved the overall writing which was lyrical and richly textured, and puts you right in that time and place. Here is a strong and introspective (though anachronistic) woman that makes you think about what you would do, and how you would behave in these circumstances. It runs the gamut of human emotions – love, hate, fear, self-sacrifice, self-preservation, greed, grief, and madness. Ultimately, though, it failed to show me what was wonderful about having survived, and did a disservice to the real minister of Eyam, William Mompesson.

Book Description (from back cover): When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated mountain village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the plague year, 1666, as her fellow villagers make an extraordinary choice: convinced by a visionary young minister they elect to quarantine themselves within the village boundaries to arrest the spread of the disease. But as death reaches into every household, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her communtity, and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”