Thursday, September 07, 2006

Year of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks

The subtitle of this book is A novel of the Plague, but don't let this stop you from a fascinating read. In 1665, the Bubonic plague attacks the village of Eyam. The tale unfolds through the eyes of an 18-year-old widow named Anna Frith. Anna is the housemaid for the local rectory.
Through this job she sees the life of the gentry and decision-makers of the village. In a decision brought about by the Reverend Mompellion, the Villagers voluntarily quarantine themselves! No one is to leave and no one can enter! Many of the villagers believe that the plague is God's punishment for a sinful world. The villagers reveal panic, rage, greed, complacency, and murderous superstition. Anna, the heroine, questions the idea that the plague is a call for repentance, and not just merely a fate of nature. Her character development transforms her from a servant to a woman of power.

Geraldine Brooks has written this historical novel based on three letters written by the rector of the real village of Eyam.

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