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Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders (2001)

by Geraldine Brooks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,273347776 (3.97)608
Recently added byExcise, books66, private library, champacs, ghsmediacenter, rena75
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    lucyknows: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks may be paired with The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
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    labfs39: For a non-fiction account of the 1918 pandemic that many thought was the Black Plague come again
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    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.
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    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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    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!

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» See also 608 mentions

English (344)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (348)
Showing 1-5 of 344 (next | show all)
Obviously well-researched and well-written story based on real events. ( )
  RobertaLea | Mar 4, 2019 |
This book was a surprise to me. It is beautifully written, and I immediately fell in love with its main character, Anna, for her courage and spirit. It is so worth the read! ( )
  loveleelisa | Jan 5, 2019 |
Year of Wonders was well wonderful- (how is that for alliteration?)- To be living in 2011 and be drawn into 1666 so completely that I could see the landscape and visualize what a truly horrific life it was to be a lead miner ( and that isn't even talking about what living with the Plague is like) was amazing. I realize I want to know lots more about the healing power of plants - we may need this knowledge in the future- they knew this stuff back then- like chew on the bark of the Willow- well guess what it is full of salicylic acid or aspirin- great pain killer and antiinflammatory.
Geraldine Brooks is a wonderful writer in that I never stopped to go "really?" and she totally sucked me into her story- I will definitely try some of her other books. ( )
  Darragh4444 | Oct 22, 2018 |
3.5 stars. A sad story beautifully told. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Anna Frith is a young widow with two young children to raise, in a little village in Derbyshire, England, as the year of 1665 draws to an end. She is quiet, unassuming, and not inclined to make waves. She takes in a lodger sent to her by the local rector, to help make ends meet now that her husband's income from the mine is gone.

The lodger is a tailor, and he receives a deliver of cloth from London. Quite innocently, with that cloth, he has brought bubonic plague into the village. Over the next year, she faces previously unimaginable challenges, as her neighbors and friends die, and she needs to become a healer and leader among those not yet sick.

This novel is based on the events in the village of Eyam in 1666, where the local ministers responded to the arrival of plague by closing the village--no one in or out until the plague there has run its course--in exchange for supplies delivered to their boundary stone regularly by the neighboring villages. It was an extraordinary action, undertaken few other places in Europe, and in this novel Brooks imagines the experiences of the village through the eyes of the rector's maid. It's a wonderful evocation of courage and fear, community and division, and the weakness and strength mingled in varying degrees in every individual. Anna has to step forward and become the village midwife and herb woman, after the previous one is killed for being a witch. She's no perfect model of virtue; fear, jealousy, and resentment motivate some of her actions. But so do courage, generosity, and the belief that more people will die if the village gives way to division and fear.

In the midst of this annus horribilis, she finds joy, friendship, and confidence, as well, a year of wonders.

It's an incredibly engrossing and rewarding story, and I'm not doing it justice. Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 344 (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 (6 possible)

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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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)

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