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Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,482313590 (3.97)547
Title:Year of Wonders
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2002), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Own, Historical Fiction, Culture-British, Plague, Ang, November 2012

Work details

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (2001)

  1. 200
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (labfs39, wrmjr66, helgagrace)
  2. 50
    World Without End by Ken Follett (GCPLreader)
  3. 50
    The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen (derelicious)
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    Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (meggyweg)
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    The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher (meggyweg)
  6. 20
    Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Mopsy)
  7. 20
    A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: A book for younger readers about the same plague outbreak in the same town. It is interesting to compare the two stories.
  8. 20
    The Crucible by Arthur Miller (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks may be paired with The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
  9. 20
    Down the Common: A Year in the Life of a Medieval Woman by Ann Baer (Bookmarque)
  10. 31
    A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (jilld17)
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    Restoration by Rose Tremain (kiwiflowa)
  12. 10
    The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry (labfs39)
    labfs39: For a non-fiction account of the 1918 pandemic that many thought was the Black Plague come again
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    The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono (caittilynn)
    caittilynn: I couldn't find the title listed in English, but the Horseman on the Roof tells the story of a young man traveling through the Provence region of France when there is an epidemic of cholera and he is suddenly forced to deal with death, opportunism and fearful townspeople.… (more)
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    Revolutionary by Alex Myers (GreenVelvet)
    GreenVelvet: Detailed, meticulously-researched historical fiction with intelligent female protagonists, exploration of gender roles

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» See also 547 mentions

English (308)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  German (1)  All languages (311)
Showing 1-5 of 308 (next | show all)
Brilliant! ( )
  jkrnomad | Jul 1, 2016 |
This is the second book of historical fiction by Geraldine Brooks that I have read. Brooks is an excellent writer as far as words go, but she makes some odd choices in storytelling. I noticed this a bit when I read her novel "March" and it is much more evident here. For most of this book I really liked it and was somewhat immersed in the world of 350 years ago, 1665-1666. Brooks uses bits of old language and expressions and archaic words for things to continually remind the reader that we are in the 17th century - not the 20th or 21st. Brooks paints us a picture in words of life during the black plague in a small village near London. This is based on a true story of a village, people who chose to isolate themselves rather than risk further spreading this horrible epidemic. Since very little actual documentation of events exists in writing, the author has a free hand in putting her imagination to use in constructing the story. The story thus is primarily fictional, although it uses some interpretations of real people. It is a first person narrative told by Anna, who has two small children and was recently widowed when her husband died in a lead mine collapse shortly before the arrival of Plague to the village. She is a maid for the Rector and his wife Elinor, the two other main characters. We see the good and the bad as members of the community die horrible deaths over the course of a year, not all because of the disease, and madness takes hold of others in various forms. Once in a while a couple of the main characters seem a little too modern to me for 1665, which does happen with historical fiction.

The story took a few odd turns somewhere towards the middle that I didn't care for, and this prefaced a change in the focus of the story. The deaths from the Plague continue but the story is increasingly a series of scenes that are primarily people doing bad things to each other. It seemed bent on destroying the image we the reader had built up about about a couple good characters, the Rector especially. The book more or less "jumped the shark" towards the end. My initial impression of the later part of the story was quite poor. Upon thinking on it for a while I make myself recognize that this was the author's story - not mine. ( )
  RBeffa | Jun 13, 2016 |
Story of a small town in England during the 1665-1666 plague outbreak. The main character Anna was sympathetic and likable. The story was hard to read at times because of the death and destruction of the plague. The writing flowed nicely and the story engaging. ( )
  janismack | Jun 5, 2016 |
Review: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. This was a great story based on a true story and the only flaw I found was it was a little wordy at times. It was well written, the characters were well developed and the historical setting of 1666 in a small village of Eyam, England was described with accuracy. Brooks, so well creative that “The Plague” itself generates the power of a character; it lives, breathes and swallows the story. It’s not just a book about disease and death; it’s about survival, passion, empathy and unbelievable heroes. The story is narrated by Anne Frith, a woman who takes care of the minister, Michael Mompellion’s rectory home. From the beginning of the story the reader will notice that Anne is a wonderful person who survived childhood abuse, the death of her husband and left to raise two young children. She carries a mix of feminism and the Puritan values throughout the story. The minister’s character is compelling, captivating, and intriguing to follow and near then end his character’s behavior is surprisingly uncovered believable and relevant to the story, shocking the reader. His wife, Elinor who had a shady background before she married the minister becomes a mentor, teacher and most of all a friend to Anne. What follows is a tale of tragedy that lasted about a year and two thirds of the village perished. They believe the plague seed spread through the village by bolts of cloth sent from London. As the people began to fall ill and die, one after another, those that remained alive made an oath to not go out of the village’s boundary until they were sure it was over. In order for the village to get supplies they left a list at the boundary line and someone took the list and brought back to the same spot what the village needed. There was suffering throughout the village and when a child died or an adult it was heartbreaking to read about. Brooks explains how the plague attacks the body but she did it in a way to lesson the horrific disease as refined as she could. The ending scenario could have been different to be acceptable to some readers. However, I thought the story was amazing and notable. ( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
The subject matter doesn't lend itself to anything but a sad story, but it is an engrossing one.  I wasn't sure what to expect for an ending, but I love what she did with it. ( )
  Darth-Heather | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 308 (next | show all)
Discriminating readers who view the term historical novel with disdain will find that this debut by praised journalist Brooks (Foreign Correspondence) is to conventional work in the genre as a diamond is to a rhinestone. With an intensely observant eye, a rigorous regard for period detail, and assured, elegant prose, Brooks re-creates a year in the life of a remote British village decimated by the bubonic plague.
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brooks, Geraldineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diano, FrancescaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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O let it be enough what thou hast done,
When spotted deaths ran arm'd through every street,
With poison'd darts, which not the good could shun,
The speedy could outfly, or valiant meet.

The living few, and frequent funerals then,
Proclaim'd thy wrath on this forsaken place:
And now those few who are return'd agen
Thy searching judgments to their dwellings trace.

- From Annus Mirabilis, The Year of Wonders, 1666, by John Dryden
For Tony
Without you, I never would
have gone there.
First words
I used to love this season.
Good yield does not come without suffering, it does not come without struggle, and toil, and yes, loss.
God warns us not to love any earthly thing above Himself, and yet He sets in a mother's heart such a fierce passion for her babes that I do not comprehend how He can test us so.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
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 housebold, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers and herbal cures to sorcery and murderous witch-hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes, instead, annus mirablilis, a "year of wonders."

Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged mountain spine of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and hailed as an "astonishing re-creation of how it felt to be a victim and survivor of the year of wonders and horrors," the novel examines the collision of faith, science, and superstition at the cusp of the modern era. Exploring love and learning, loss and renewal, Year of Wonders succeeds as a spellbinding work of historical fiction and an unforgettable read.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142001430, Paperback)

Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders describes the 17th-century plague that is carried from London to a small Derbyshire village by an itinerant tailor. As villagers begin, one by one, to die, the rest face a choice: do they flee their village in hope of outrunning the plague or do they stay? The lord of the manor and his family pack up and leave. The rector, Michael Mompellion, argues forcefully that the villagers should stay put, isolate themselves from neighboring towns and villages, and prevent the contagion from spreading. His oratory wins the day and the village turns in on itself. Cocooned from the outside world and ravaged by the disease, its inhabitants struggle to retain their humanity in the face of the disaster. The narrator, the young widow Anna Frith, is one of the few who succeeds. With Mompellion and his wife, Elinor, she tends to the dying and battles to prevent her fellow villagers from descending into drink, violence, and superstition. All is complicated by the intense, inexpressible feelings she develops for both the rector and his wife. Year of Wonders sometimes seems anachronistic as historical fiction; Anna and Mompellion occasionally appear to be modern sensibilities unaccountably transferred to 17th-century Derbyshire. However, there is no mistaking the power of Brooks's imagination or the skill with which she constructs her story of ordinary people struggling to cope with extraordinary circumstances. --Nick Rennison, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:22 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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