Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague (Playaway Adult Fiction)

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9781441754547: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague (Playaway Adult Fiction)
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When the plague visits an isolated village in the English countryside, 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 endure a self-imposed quarantine to keep the disease from spreading. 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 a true story, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. With stunning emotional intelligence, Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Geraldine Brooks is the author of March, the recipient of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. She is also the author of Year of Wonders, Nine Parts of Desire, and Foreign Correspondence. She has been a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Bosnia, Somalia, and the Middle East. Born and raised in Australia, she lives in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, with her husband, the author Tony Horowitz, and their son.

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