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Year of Wonders

by Geraldine Brooks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,253400869 (3.96)693
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)
  1. 210
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (labfs39, wrmjr66, helgagrace)
  2. 61
    The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen (derelicious)
  3. 50
    World Without End by Ken Follett (GCPLreader)
  4. 40
    Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (meggyweg)
  5. 30
    The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher (meggyweg)
  6. 31
    A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (jilld17)
  7. 20
    Down the Common: A Year in the Life of a Medieval Woman by Ann Baer (Bookmarque)
  8. 10
    Restoration by Rose Tremain (kiwiflowa)
  9. 10
    The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman (wordcauldron)
  10. 10
    Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Mopsy)
  11. 10
    The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic 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
  12. 21
    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.
  13. 00
    A Poultice for a Healer by Caroline Roe (wordcauldron)
  14. 00
    A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (ainsleytewce)
  15. 00
    Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Historical fiction that is even more about the plague, and equally compelling.
  16. 00
    The Last Hours by Minette Walters (Litrvixen)
  17. 00
    The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague by Dorsey Armstrong (wordcauldron)
    wordcauldron: Informative and intriguing university-level lecture about the plague. Sort of a micro history. Good for those who want some non-fiction about this topic!
  18. 00
    Revolutionary by Alex Myers (GreenVelvet)
    GreenVelvet: Detailed, meticulously-researched historical fiction with intelligent female protagonists, exploration of gender roles
  19. 00
    Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan (wordcauldron)
    wordcauldron: A girl who outlives her parents during an influenza outbreak and encounters a deceitful plan by a couple that lost their daughter during the same outbreak.
  20. 11
    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.

(see all 22 recommendations)

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» See also 693 mentions

English (392)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  German (1)  All languages (397)
Showing 1-5 of 392 (next | show all)
Historical fiction about an isolated English village suffering from an outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1665-1666. Protagonist Anna Frith, a widow with two small children, works as a maid for the rector and his wife. She is poor and uneducated, but smart and kind. She has a passion for learning and develops a close friendship with the rector’s wife. Many villagers believe the plague is the wrath of God. Some turn to superstitions, punishing “witches” and wearing talismans. The rector is religiously zealous and attempts to guide the village in containing the deadly disease.

The writing is lyrical, evoking a time and place. Brooks captures what life may have been like in those times, covering such topics as medical practices (primitive as they were), religious views, class status, and the plight of women in a restrictive society. As an example of the writing style, this passage describes the onset of the plague:

“The fair young face of the evening before was gone from the pallet in front of me. George Viccars lay with his head pushed to the side by a lump the size of a newborn piglet, a great, shiny, yellow-purple knob of pulsing flesh. His face, half turned away from me because of the excrescence, was flushed scarlet, or rather, blotched, with shapes like rings of rose petals blooming under his skin. His blond hair was a dark, wet mess upon his head, and his pillow was drenched with sweat. There was a sweet, pungent smell in the garret. A smell like rotting apples.”

The first three-fourths of the novel are very well crafted. The storyline goes a bit far afield toward the end, but it serves as a much-needed break from the numerous tragedies. The book shows how adversity brings out the best and worst of human nature and how fear can lead to mistrust and mistreatment of others. Though this epidemic occurred hundreds of years ago, the message remains valid today.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Abrupt ending, but overall v. good. ( )
  maryroberta | Sep 4, 2022 |
Based on a true story of a village that sacrificed much of itself to the plague in order to spare their neighbors. A story of both the noblest and basest human impulses and of how single=minded faith can be both heroically uplifting and devastatingly cruel, even with "good" intentions. Terrific use of language specific to the time and setting without being distracting. Very believable protagonist. The descriptions of suffering and of desire bring immediacy to the reader. ( )
  brianstagner | Sep 1, 2022 |
A village deals with the plague and a girl finds out who she is and what she believes. Excellent plot, character development and exposition. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Bookclub book from carol crane for April 2020. March bookclub was over Zoom(like FaceTime), Bc of corona virus. So, carol got to join us and she got to choose the book for April.
  PatLibrary123 | Aug 9, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 392 (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.
added by lucyknows | editSCIS (pay site)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brooks, Geraldineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diano, FrancescaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodge, PatriciaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robert-Nicoud, ElieTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For Tony
Without you, I never would
have gone there.
First words
I used to love this season.
Quotations
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.
And so, as generally happens, those who have most give least, and those with less somehow make shrift to share.
Inasmuch as he knew what love meant, he knew he loved me, and all the more so when I gave him the boys.
This was no stealthy retreat. The Hall hummed like a struck hive.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Problem CK :
Date de première publication :
- 2001-06-05 (1e édition originale américaine)
- 2003-03-11 (1e traduction et édition française, Calmann-Lévy)
- 2004-12-02 (Réédition française, Domaine étranger, 10/18)
Publisher's editors
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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