A Parcel of Patterns
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A Parcel of Patterns

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  279 ratings  ·  54 reviews
"A parcel of patterns brought the plague to Eyam. A parcel sent up from London to George Vicars, a journeyman tailor, who was lodging with Mrs. Cooper in a cottage by the west end of the churchyard.

So begins Mall Percival's account of how her village of Eyam struggled against the plague. George Vicars dies on September 6, 1665, and by the end of October, twenty-five more t...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Turtleback Books (first published October 1st 1983)
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(showing 1-30 of 531)
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Barks & Bites
I am intrigued by books about the plague. The attraction? Well, even one of my crappiest, exhaustion-filled day pales in comparison to living through the plague. Or maybe it's those gore filled plague sores that call to me (but I'd never truly admit that).

This book is a bit different than the few that I've read about the plague of the 1600's in that it isn't scholarly, dry or written from the point of view of adults. This fictional tale is told by a young lady named Mal who describes her world...more
Carre Gardner
A stunning novel based on the true story of the Great Plague that came to Eyam, England in 1665, and nearly destroyed the village. The disease arrives in a parcel of dress patterns, and within 14 months, destroys 267 of the village's 350 inhabitants. The villagers of Eyam make the heartbreaking decision to voluntarily quarantine themselves inside the village limits until the plague has run its course. Historians estimate that this act of selflessness, by preventing the spread of plague, saved hu...more
Tara Calaby
Re-read due to wanting to cleanse my palate after reading the much inferior Eyam-inspired book Year of Wonders. This was as well done as I'd remembered. Walsh does a great job of weaving historical facts into a fictionalised whole.
Lydia
Seriously, they have to come up with a better picture for the cover than they already have, if they're planning on bringing it back out into print again. And the font size, margin, what not--it needs to be bigger and better spaced. It's so hard to read it--it's about the size of a pamphlet, but the thickness of a real book.
I actually started this yesterday because my mom had been telling me for days that I had to hurry up and read this one book. What do you say when you're determined not to lik...more
Qt
Stories about plagues are not really my cup of tea, so I can't really say this was a book I *enjoyed*. However, although it was sad and frightening, it's also well-written, with plenty of historical details, and I liked the style. I listened to the audio book and the narrator did a great job.
Frozenscouts7
Jul 27, 2009 Frozenscouts7 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Frozenscouts7 by: Suggested in my homeschooling materials
This book was amazing. It is based on the true story of the town of Eyam in England that was struck by the plague after a parcel of patterns arrived from London containing infected fleas and how the villagers shut themselves off from the outside world to try and contain it. I am completely amazed by the sacrifice the people made in doing this. They knew that many of them would die because they chose to stay but in doing so probably saved northern England from the plague.
I have to admit I am a bi...more
Phair
Read in conjunction with Year of Wonders for f2f book group. We thought this YA novel was more realistic and straightforward and had greater emotional impact of the two with its account of the Eyam story from the young girl's point of view -most found it the more interesting read of the two. There was also the element of the clash between the Puritan/faith based outlook and the more secular/scientific outlook of the Restoration in the reactions to the crisis. I had read this many years ago (aro...more
Sally
Jan 16, 2013 Sally rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sally by: Tara Calaby
Shelves: plague, england, 1600s
This was really fascinating, but I found it a little dry at times. There seemed to be a fair amount of build-up and I felt the pace didn't really start to pick up until everyone was dying of the plague... but I guess that's just what I was more interested in too. ;) (view spoiler)
Tricia
This book is about the plague and how it affected the town of Eyam in Derbyshire village England in 1665. The story tells of the devastation and incredible loss while also telling of the struggle to keep the plague from spreading to other towns. It captures the fright of the people and their fierce devotion to religion. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history. The book is fiction, but based on actual events.
Shauna
A good book about the plague, and I actually enjoyed reading it. I liked the way it was told from young Mall's perspective, and I also enjoyed the tension and sincerity of the two preachers. Reading this book can also help put our modern lives in perspective. I was having a rather depressing day and told my husband I needed to get back reading my plague book so I could feel better about my own life. It worked.
Cassie
I LOVED this book! I wish that this book were about 100 pages longer and that a sequel would have been written. This book is another author's interpretation about the town in England that sequestered itself during a bout of the plague in the 1600s. It is similar to Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, but I actually liked this one even better! SOOOO good!
Mary
In this case, I'm wavering between four and five stars - and I normally give five stars only to books I'd be happy to own and reread. The factual story of Eyam is so crushingly sad that I'm not sure I'd want to own this book - but I did read it twice, and would gladly read it again. The stately, old-fashioned language may be off-putting to modern teens, true. But it perfectly conveys the strength and dignity of young Mall Percival and her fellow villagers. In addition to telling a compelling sto...more
Josefina Bryant
Some of the books chosen to read for my homeschooling sounded like I would be bored before I could even start it. "A Parcel of Patterns" I thought as I picked it up, "Oh, great, I'm going to hate this one." When I started it, it wasn't really hooking. It was like eating a pork chop. It take's forever to chew, but as soon as your done the flavor bursts through. Shocking, interesting, and different, I found myself not wanting to put this book down. If you're looking to read this book on your own...more
Kate Forsyth
I spent a weekend in the Peaks District during my time in the UK this month. Given a choice between visiting Chatsworth House (the opulent seat of the Duke of Devonshire which was used as the site of Pemberley in the 2005 film adaption of Pride and Prejudice) and a small local village called Eyam (prounced ‘eem’), you might be surprised to know I chose the latter. Eyam, however, is the famous ‘plague village’ which isolated itself voluntarily in 1665 after the Black Death arrived in a flea-infes...more
Sarah
May 01, 2014 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 12+
Recommended to Sarah by: Sonlight
For a book describing the effects of the Plague on a small town in England, this story was pretty tame. Mall, the main character and narrator of the book, starts out by describing some of her childhood experiences, then moves on to how the Plague got to her town of Eyam, the symptoms of the Plague, and then the death toll. That's about it. Although there is a bit of a love story and a semi-tragic ending (as you might expect), the book never really grabbed me. There isn't that much of a plot, and...more
Heather
An endearing and heartbreaking view of how the bubonic plague nearly destroyed the town of Eyam and how the citizens of the small town dealt with and attempted to overcome the devastating disease.

The story was sparse but captivating - the characters were easily taken into my heart and the setting began to feel a little like home. Written as a first-person narrative by a survivor, Mall Percival, everything about the book seemed rather thin, including dialogue, characterization, setting, and more,...more
TheRealMelbelle
I hope that adults will also read this wonderful book. It is based on the true story of the town of Eyam in England. The plague was introduced there after dress patterns arrived in a flea-infested bundle of cloth that was delivered to tailor George Viccars from London. The villagers isolated themselves from outside world in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

"The plague raged in the village for 16 months and it is stated that it killed at least 260 villagers with only 83 villagers survi...more
Emily
I am excited to read this book that my sister-in-law gave me for my birthday. Thanks, Cassie! (and Mike, of course!)

This book was a fast read and I really enjoyed it. When I finished reading it, I just wasn't quite finished with the whole story so I searched on Google for more information about the plague and that city. It is sad that so many people died from preventable diseases. I cannot imagine living in such filth as was common in those days. The people at the time thought that the plague wa...more
Suzanne
Finished this book by Jill Paton Walsh, which was based upon the actual case of Eyam, England during 1665 to 1666, fourteen months where the plague visited this small town. The residents of the village chose to lock themselves in, to protect neighboring villages from the plague. Although there is great disparity in the numbers of dead, the losses were great, and it is said that a quarter of the inhabitants were all that remained after the last plague cases. Interesting book, it is a children's b...more
Patricia
Who knew?! This was a lovely little (not long, but complete) account of how the Great Plague of 1665/6 spread from London to Eyam, Derbyshire (yes, in a parcel of patterns) and the outcome. It was very well researched and even the language was spot on (or at least I imagine so as I wasn't around in 1665 in Derbyshire). The background story - life in a tiny village in rural England - was also interesting.
Cathie
This is a YA book, about the plague in a small English town in 1665. I enjoyed the story but it used language from the time, i.e. "thou goest". This did not bother me and wouldn't bother anyone used to the King James Version of the Bible, but would probably turn off / annoy / intimidate teens other than GT or history buffs.
middle and upper grades
written as a narration of events by one of the young women
AR test
Marlene
I noticed that Melinda was reading this book and it reminded me that I hadn't included it on my goodreads even though I had read it six years ago. It must be a good read because I can still remember it and the way I felt when I read it. It is a rather fast read, a rather sad one but not deeply depressing and if you like the true story of the city of Eyam and how it dealt with the plague you will like this book.
Melissainau
Mar 08, 2012 Melissainau rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone!
Shelves: kidlit
Re-read this as I had bought it for the Bigster.
This is the story of how the Plague came to the village of Eyam in 1665. Told from the perspective of the (fictional) Mall Percival, it is tragic and heartbreaking without ever becoming maudlin or self-indulgent.
There are more recent books which tell the same story but this, for me, is the absolute must-read.
Jennifer
Another Goodreader recommended this book. It's a short fictional story set in England during the plague. It takes a bit to get into the rhythm of the older style of English used by the author. It is worth it to give the book a chance. In no time, you'll be fine with reading that style of english and then you won't be able to put the book down.
Katherine
Account of the Plague coming to Eyam, England in 1665-1666. Mall (16) sees how the Plague affects her life as those around her are struck down. A story of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Some resort to selfish cruelty or hopelessness. Some have dignity and compassion amid the terror and fear. Haunting.
Melinda
Really liked. Always really like plague books. Weird? Possibly but true. Interesting that this book is so small yet so...well told. And can I say, 4 syllables...vernacular. I loved that! There was a touching romance in there amidst all the death as well. So good to me. The plague...Argh!
Lisa
Very well done historical fiction about a little village in Eyam, England that still has a historical tour of what happened during the the plague years of 1665-1666. The story is told from the first person point of view and is seamlessly done.


I vote for a road trip!
Leslie
A fine easy read. A young ladies journal of what their life was like when the plague entered and nearly destroyed their small village. I read about this book on some list or other (as usual, cannot remember). If you have it, read it but I would not run out and buy it.
Stephanie
The best thing about this book is the language--Walsh did a fabulous job using vocabulary and grammar that someone would have actually used then. I thought she also did really well putting an average person in the religious and political context of that time and place.
Skye
Not an easy read. The language is older to go with the time period of the book. Also, the subject is not happy - it's the plague, afterall. It was a good book though, and gives a good picture of what it might have been like to go through that time.
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Jill Paton Walsh was born Gillian Bliss in London on April 29th, 1937. She was educated at St. Michael's Convent, North Finchley, and at St. Anne's College, Oxford. From 1959 to 1962 she taught English at Enfield Girls' Grammar School.

Jill Paton Walsh has won the Book World Festival Award, 1970, for Fireweed; the Whitbread Prize, 1974 (for a Children's novel) for The Emperor's Winding Sheet; The...more
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