Thursday, July 19, 2007

Year of Wonders

"Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" by Geraldine Brooks
published 2001 308 pages

I won this on the Blogroll Game and was looking forward to it. It's based on the true story of the village of Eyam in England. In 1666, during one of the last outbreaks in Europe, this village guaranteed itself to try to prevent the plague from spreading to neighboring villages.

Anna Firth is an 18-year old widow living in a small village with her two young sons. Her husband died mining lead and now Anna makes ends meet by working at the rectory and farming. The Reverend Mompellion and his wife, Elinor, sends a boarder to her door. The boarder, George Viccars is a tailor. When a bolt of cloth arrives from London for him it brings the plague with it.

As people begin to die, the decision is made to isolate the village. The Lord of the next town will help sustain the people with food, medicine or whatever they need by leaving it on the road to town. And as the death toll mounts, people begin to turn away from faith. Superstition and witches are deemed responsible.

The title is from a poem by John Dryden:Annus Mirabilis, The Year of Wonders. In 1666, England won a war with the Dutch and the Great Fire of London burned out the plague.

As I said, I had been looking forward to this book. And I did enjoy it right up to the last few chapters. Then it turned too unpredictable. People did things that didn't seem in character. But over-all I'll say it was OK.

But over at Bookworms Carnival I saw this review and went out and bought it. It's on my Book of Great Books list so I needed it anyway. Looks like I get to read a good plague book after all.

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