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Year of Wonders

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  102,012 Ratings  ·  7,661 Reviews
Spring 1666: when the Great Plague reaches the quiet Derbyshire village of Eyam, the villagers make an extraordinary decision. They elect to isolate themselves in a fateful quarantine. So begins the Year of Wonders, seen through eighteen-year-old Anna Frith’s eyes as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published 2001)
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Mar 03, 2014 JanB rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this a higher rating if not for the strange ending.
Feb 20, 2015 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2007 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite the vast majority of this story being a seemingly unending tide of death and devastation from the Plague, I absolutely loved this novel. Granted I'm kind of a sucker for a historical novel set in a small seventeenth century British village with medical themes and an empowered female protagonist, but this story did an excellent job of combining period details, developing compelling characters, and showing a community in an impossible situation. I liked the end, though I'll admit it was aw ...more
Feb 03, 2008 Roisin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of historical fiction so this is not the kind of book that I would normally read. Having read several positive reviews and been impressed by the author's credentials, however, I started reading with an open mind. The writing style was very welcoming and drew you in from the beginning and I warmed to the strength of Anna, the protagonist. I felt however that the story became so flawed and was so inconsistently paced that by the final page I had lo ...more
I had read a couple of Geraldine Brooks' essays for my Lit Theory class while I was in grad school, and while I was never one of those ultra-feminist types, I liked what she wrote about women as being strong, independent and intelligent creatures without overtly politicizing femininity as a whole. So I looked forward to reading "Year of Wonders", primarily because I loved the topic, I loved the time period, I loved the location and because I thought Brooks would be able to impart something diffe ...more
Meredith Enos
A lot of people have complained about this book being slow, but I found it beautifully paced for what it was about--after all, the title is "Year of Wonders," which kind of sets up an expectation and timeframe right away. The pace helped set up a world, a time when things moved more slowly, when people were more thoughtful, when people paid attention to the seasons and nature. This is a beautifully narrated, incredibly seamless (for the amount of research that must have been put into to it, it r ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Another winner from this author! An engaging plot and an interesting glimpse of what life was like for country people back then.
Historical novels are the perfect niche for Geraldine Brooks. She does ample research, then creates a perfect blend of fact and fiction.

This book is based on a true story about the village of Eyam, Derbyshire, where they really did quarantine themselves during the Black Plague of the 17th century. People long ago didn't understand how disease was transmitted, so they r
Mar 28, 2008 Katy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that I liked this book. But, I was greatly disappointed in it. I came to the book knowing of the sacrifice of that village and knowing, too, that when people sacrifice in such a way they are abundantly blessed by God. Unfortunately, the latter was completely missing in this book. It is easy to be an onlooker to suffering and assume that you’ve seen the injustice and the loss and the pain and that there is nothing else to see. This is not only completely at odds with everything I be ...more
Jun 06, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like historical fiction.
Recommended to Rebecca by: LisaMM
Year of Wonders is a historical novel about a small English town 100 miles outside of London. It's the year 1666, and the town has been struck by plague, brought to them by a London tailor boarding with our narrator, Anna. The village is so remote that when the plague first appears the villagers don't recognize it for what it is. Once they learn the horrors of the disease, the villagers are asked to make a decision whether to flee in order to save themselves, or to stay put in order to keep the ...more
Jun 30, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Kathryn Latour
1666. A young housemaid walks through the empty streets of a village decimated by plague. She attends to the rector, a formerly charismatic leader now sequestered in his empty house, listless and faithless. The previous year a bolt of fabric from London brought bubonic plague to this remote northern village, and as one by one the villagers began to die, the rector convinced them that instead of fleeing the village and bringing plague to others (who probably would drive them away anyway), they sh ...more
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
I honestly have two totally different ranks for this book: one of the first 200 pages and one of the last fifty. The last fifty pages totally ruined everything I loved about the first 200. If I weren't reading on my computer, I'd throw it across the room.

Year of Wonders is inspired by a true story of a village called Eyam in England, which experienced an outbreak of the plague in 1666. Our story focuses on Anna, a housemaid for the village priest, and her experiences with loss, family, and commu
Jul 16, 2008 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah me, I'm afraid I had to reach for the smelling salts many times during Brooks' depiction of the plague's rampage through a small village in central England in the year 1666. The village and it's heroic decision to isolate itself to prevent the spread of the Black Death to other parts of the country is a reality. The characters spring to full-blown life from the author's imagination: preachers, servant girls, noble people who take on the roles of "heavies", Puritans, Anglicans, Ancients and c ...more
Amy Bruno

Year of Wonders is a novel inspired by the true story of the little town of Eyam in Derbyshire, known as the Plague Village, during the years 1665 - 1666. Although the cause of how the plague showed up in their village is still unknown, the villagers' decision to quarantine themselves in order to stop the spread of the deadly disease has sealed their place in history.

Geraldine Brooks provides us with a fictional account of what life looked like from within the Plague Villag
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nope, I didn't like this at all. OK, just about everybody agrees the ending is bad, me included, but that is not at all why I so dislike the book. For me endings are not that terribly important. It is the time spent with the book that is important to me. Do they get me thinking? Am I drawn into the lives of the characters? Do I occasionally smile or laugh outright or cry? I never laughed with this book. Not once. Neither did I cry. I was made miserable by the depravity so frequently seen in the ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: she-wrote-it

A solid effort from Geraldine Brooks. Especially impressive is her masterful writing throughout, which is quite beautiful and striking. No question about it, this is a sad book; however, it's not depressing. You feel for the main character's plight, but you have faith in her strength. That is what I think keeps the book from depressing the reader. The story focuses on a small cast of characters that Brooks has fleshed out nicely, and the plot is tight
Rarely has a book so captivated and then disappointed me with such a 180 turn to what I called utter "dreckage". Year of Wonders managed to do this, infortunately.

In order to review, I have to break the book up between pages so that you can see where the trainwreck happened for me, and why I'm so PO'ed I could almost cry....

Rating: 5 stars
(I'd give it 10 stars if Goodreads had that designation, but since 5 stars means it was amazing, then 5 stars it is)

Year of Wonders: Pag
If you are writing a book and want a solid example of what NOT to do, then “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks is an ideal case study. Yes, that may be harsh but Year of Wonder displays the prime example of an interesting plot with poor execution.

To begin, the text style is somewhat repellant as it is bland and one dimensional, lacking depth and energy. Also absent is a strong sense of imagery, with a monotone and drab voice, causing the reader to want to scan the pages (trust me, you won’t m
May 18, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angie by: Diana
As a child of 11, I visited Eyam in Derbyshire for a 3 week long holiday staying in a 15th Century farmhouse. If the house wasn't creepy enough, the history of the 'Plague village' and its brave inhabitants totally fired up my imagination and I haven't forgotten the impression this made on me and my sisters and brother. I remember seeing the well, a crude stone with holes in it which was the furthest point the villagers could go to and where they left notes, money and requests for basic necessit ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 22, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
“My Tom died as babies do, gently and without complaint. Because they have been such a little time with us, they seem to hold to life but weakly. I used to wonder if it was so because the memory of Heaven still lived within them, so that in leaving here they do not fear death as we do, who no longer know with certainty where it is our spirits go. This, I thought, must be the kindness that God does for them and for us, since He gives so many infants such a little while to bide with us.”

1666 was
Sep 02, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks 2001 novel describes the plague years of 1666 and concludes with a very unusual and somewhat unbalanced ending.

While reading I thought of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and of course Camus’ The Plague (and I forgive her much about the ending for the mention of Oran which could NOT have been coincidence).

This is simply, elegantly written and yet the force and brutality of the plot, told in such straightforward prose is also reminiscent of Sinners in the Hands of
Apr 16, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Year Of Wonders is the story of a very young, but determined and brave young widowed housemaid, Anna Frith, who (view spoiler) to the horrors of the plague, but soldiers on to help the town minister and his wife fight the contagion while quarantined within their village.

This touching and sometimes grotesquely explicit novel set in 1666 England is full of heartbreaking stories depicting unbelievable cruelty, superstitions, profiteering from the dead and the

Jennifer (aka EM)
Update: Mar 29/13--I don't know why I did it, but the very fact that I did it (finished this book) was going to lead me to up it to three stars. But now that I've done it I'M TAKING THIS DOWN TO ONE STAR -- HOLY MOLY AND GOLLY GEE WILLIKERS BUT I AM P.O.'d AT THIS BOOK.

None of the last 50pp - new character development COMPLETELY in opposition and nonsensical to anything that went before, new sub-plots suggested and followed - were either necessary or sensible. ALL of it was entirely a contrivan
Tea Jovanović
Jedna od mojih prvih "uredničkih" kupovina... neposredno posle Harija Potera... Odličan roman o crnoj smrti, ili kugi u Engleskoj... Nažalost, objavljena je u pogrešnoj ediciji i nije joj posvečena adekvatna pažnja... ali potražite je u bibliotekama... A još bolje, pročitajte je u originalu ako ste u mogućnosti...
Nov 19, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Historical Fiction
Read about it and "its blows fall and fall again upon raw sorrow." Its words will carry you through "a patchwork of grays," for it is not just a sense of melancholy that drives the mood of this novel; rather, it is an abhorrent obscurity. The kind of murkiness that once upon a time, engulfed the real-life villagers of Eyam, Derbyshire in the year 1665. A closely knit community of miners and shepherds and weavers, they were.

Read and you will learn about their puritan ways and the plague that clai
Aug 01, 2014 Zanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminist history lovers
Recommended to Zanna by: Sally Bleasdale
I loved reading this because

I've known the story since I was very small & been to the place
The protagonist is a poor woman
The most heroic character is a liberated woman
The most courageous characters are all women
The author celebrates the lore and spirituality of cunning women
The author celebrates love, loyalty and friendship between women
The author celebrates communalist values and mutual care
The author takes witch-hunting to task as a masculist power-grab
The author takes Puritanism to task
This is a book about the bubonic plague so I am basically expected this by the end:


Spoilers abound below along with a not insignificant amount of profanity:(view spoiler)
Aug 02, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading "Long Man", by Amy Greene, not long ago....I was craving to read about
another female character that 'might' remind me of Annie Clyde Dodson. I also wanted the story - like "Long Man" to be inspired by true events....
and last...I wanted the writing to be gorgeous - rich, beautiful prose.....character driven...realistic...
I wanted to get in touch with that 'feeling' which is different than the many modern contemporary novels I read.

"YEAR of WONDER" was the perfect choice sat
Sara Steger
Nov 14, 2015 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A village deals with the plague and a girl finds out who she is and what she believes. Excellent plot, character development and exposition.
A realistic, grim account of England’s Great Plague of 1665-1666 as told by Anna, a very young village widow. Brooks’s writing is what makes this bearable and compelling to read.

The Black Death had been around for hundreds of years--during the Roman Empire and the late Middle Ages—but this is about the outbreak in Restoration England. Charles II and the court removed themselves to the countryside, and this village decided to quarantine itself.

The story opens in “Leaf-Fall, 1666”, after the w
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issu
More about Geraldine Brooks...

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“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.” 62 likes
“I borrowed his brightness and used it to see my way, and then gradually, from the habit of looking at the world as he illuminated it, the light in my own mind rekindled.” 20 likes
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