In 1665 tailor George Viccars unknowingly carried the plague to Eyam England in a bolt of flea invested cloth ordered from London by his boss Alexander Hadfield. From 1665 to 1666 the bubonic plague would claim 260 victims. Reverend William Mompresson and former Reverend Thomas Stanley persuade the villagers to quarantine themselves to keep the scourge from spreading. Geraldine Brooks uses this real history to craft her remarkable historic fiction on what life must have been like inside the plague village, often using people from the historical record in her story. The story is told through the perspective of Anna, who works at the rectory. Anna’s family is one of the earliest hit by the plague. Her confidence in the reverend is strong. She is fond of his beautiful wife, Elinor, who teaches her to read. As the days march on, continuing to claim villagers, they turn on the two women who could help, claiming witch craft. Anna is saddened by the disintegration of her village, but she possesses a strong, persevering spirit. Geraldine Brooks is a Pulitzer Prize winner for March, set during the Civil War. She is talented at bringing history into sharp focus.— Deon Stonehouse
“Plague stories remind us that we cannot manage without community . . . Year of Wonders is a testament to that very notion.” – The Washington Post
An unforgettable tale, set in 17th century England, of a village that quarantines itself to arrest the spread of the plague, from the author The Secret Chord and of March, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."
Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing "an inspiring heroine" (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.
About the Author
Geraldine Brooks is the author of five novels: the Pulitzer Prize-winning March; the international bestsellers Caleb's Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders; and, most recently, The Secret Chord. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha's Vinyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons.
Praise for Year of Wonders:
"The novel glitters . . . A deep imaginative engagement with how people are changed by catastrophe." —The New Yorker
“Plague stories remind us that we cannot manage without community . . . Year of Wonders is a testament to that very notion . . . [The villagers] assume collective responsibility for combating the plague, rather than seeing it as an act of God before which they are powerless.” —The Washington Post
"Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair." —O, The Oprah Magazine
"Brooks proves a gifted storyteller as she subtly reveals how ignorance, hatred and mistrust can be as deadly as any virus. . . . Year of Wonders is itself a wonder." —People
"A glimpse into the strangeness of history that simultaneously enables us to see a reflection of ourselves." —The New York Times Book Review
"Elegant and engaging." —Arthur Golden
"Year of Wonders has it all: strong characters, a trememdous sense of time and place, a clearly defined heroine and a dastardly villain." —The Denver Post