Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Parcel of Patterns” as Want to Read:
A Parcel of Patterns
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Parcel of Patterns

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  408 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
A poignant story of love and sacrifice by the brave people of a small English village who make the ultimate sacrifice to keep a dreadful disease from spreading. Based on a true story. 3 cassettes.
Hardcover, 137 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Peter Smith Publisher (first published October 1st 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Parcel of Patterns, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Parcel of Patterns

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 769)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bark's Book Nonsense
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
Tara Calaby
Mar 23, 2011 Tara Calaby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction, own, plague
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.
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
Carre Gardner
Sep 21, 2010 Carre Gardner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Christina Baehr
May 15, 2016 Christina Baehr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Did this book take me by surprise.

My husband and I read it together and we couldn't put it down. I would recommend reading this aloud to someone because then you will appreciate the strong, spare beauty of the language. And my goodness, does Paton Walsh know her 17th century! Just don't read the synopsis here on Goodreads because it gives far too much away.

I almost gave it 5 stars, and maybe I will come back and do so.

I should say, this book is SAD. It makes you feel grateful for the littl
May 05, 2011 Qt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, drama
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.
Christina Packard
Actually a very good story of how the plague comes to a town and what happens. Interesting this I on the 1001 children's book list because it does not seem like a book for children at all.
Jul 27, 2009 Frozenscouts7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
James Noh
Jan 13, 2016 James Noh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terribly boring. The book is highly predictable and you can know the ending when you realize the plague comes. While the book is sad and the point to read are for the emotions, the characters are lifeless and are boring. Nothing happens at all and characters simply wait for they're fall. There's no reason to read. Spoiler alert: the plague kills everyone, but it doesn't matter.
Madison Pisano
The novel "A Parcel of Patterns" takes place in the 17th century in England in the town of Eyam. The novel follows the story of a young woman, Mall Percival, and her life living in a town that becomes overrun by the Bubonic Plague. The plague has just started to subside all over the country and they are the last town to catch it. In order to protect the rest of the country, they wall off their town from the rest of the world to contain the plague. They thought that it was the right and smart thi ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Isabella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book had been okay. The amount of ideals and facts that had occurred throughout, had been mostly portrayed by rumors of the people. It had not been actually given through a realistic way. Although the plague was not found out through rumors or gossip of Eyam, (The town) but actual other occurrences that happened make you question if its accurate or just what the author is bending about that time. For example, if their was a fact on how much resources were in the town, the author m ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Caelan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The topic of the plague is interesting to me, and that's why I chose to read this book. The description of the book seemed interesting, but when I opened the first page, there was no hook. I started off confused, thinking I would learn more about what was going on later in the story. As I read the book, I got more and more confused with new characters being introduced almost every page. Another thing I disliked about the book was that it lacked an emotional aspect. When people died and character ...more
Kendall Isaacson
Jan 13, 2016 Kendall Isaacson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2016 Makenna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

In the story, A Parcel of Patterns, the book centers around a girl named Mall and the beautiful city of Eyam while they struggle to get through the plague.
In the story, Mall and the other citizens of Eyam are fighting a life and death battle, after the mysterious plague entered their town through a parcel that came from London. Once the parcel was opened up, the plague whisked its way through the city. One by one the people of Eyam were dying off. The town became frantic as this first death str
Jan 16, 2013 Sally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sally by: Tara Calaby
Shelves: england, plague, 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)
Sep 30, 2008 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 18, 2012 Shauna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Noel Adams
Nov 06, 2015 Noel Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling read! Based on the actual events of Eyam, England, which was literally decimated by The Plague over a period of thirteen months. Told from the first person point of view of young Mall Percival, this story leads the reader through the story of Mall's family and neighbors, as they weather this horrific event and voluntarily quarantine themselves from surrounding communities. The sub-plot, involving the village's two parsons, is equally compelling. Older Parson Stanley trusts to the sove ...more
Mar 09, 2010 Cassie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 13, 2016 Riya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school

In the 16th century, a small English town by the name of Eyam had an outbreak of the bubonic plague. A bundle of cloth was ordered from London and within the fabric were fleas that were infected with the bubonic plague. The plague quickly spread throughout Eyam, taking the lives of over half the town. The main theory about the cause of the plague was that the plague was a punishment from God. One of the parsons at the time, William Momphesson, proposed that
Jun 03, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ankith V
Jan 19, 2016 Ankith V rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was not that great. I didn't like how it was written and the style of the writing. It was written with older styled English. The book has many mentioning of death, which I didn't like. It was a very negative book and it was boring.

The book was about the Plague, which made the whole book very dark and filled with death. It is very gloomy in the book. The book has only talk about death, which makes it extremely repetitive and boring.
J.L. Orchard
Mar 22, 2015 J.L. Orchard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The true ominousness of the title doesn't strike until you've read the early pages and is another great example of a title that perfectly feeds into the story (like When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit). A sucker for sorrow, this is my kind of love story. A Parcel of Patterns is a brief read for a sunny, patio afternoon - far from anyone that may be carrying a plague that could have you locked in quarantine unable to touch those you love.
Sarah (Just One More Chapter)
May 01, 2014 Sarah (Just One More Chapter) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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,
Jan 19, 2016 Truman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book, but I wouldn't read it out of free will, because I would just read something else. The book might seem small, but the text is small and reading this book is a slow process. Also, I thought it was a little bit depressing. However, if you enjoy reading long historical apocalyptic romances, then this book is for you.
Aug 08, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-ya
I really enjoyed reading this book. The story is an old one, the devastating effects the Plague has on Eyam, a small country town in England in 1665. The Plague arrives in an infected bundle of fabric and over the next year it very nearly wipes the town off the map. Walsh writes a very convincing fictionalized account of this unbelievably sad, true story. It is written as an account recorded by a survivor, a young girl named Mall Percival, who writes it in an effort to move on with her life afte ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 25 26 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Nargun and the Stars
  • The Wool-Pack
  • Tulku
  • Some of the Kinder Planets: Stories
  • Dieu, le sexe et les bretelles (Titeuf, #1)
  • With Clive in India
  • El polizón del "Ulises"
  • Dougy (The Gracey Trilogy #1)
  • Crisis on Conshelf Ten (Crisis on Conshelf Ten, #1)
  • Jan, mein Freund
  • The scarecrows
  • The Otterbury Incident
  • Viking's Dawn (Viking Saga, #1)
  • Foxspell
  • The Seventeenth Swap
  • Jolanda, la figlia del Corsaro Nero
  • The Ghost Drum (Ghost World, #1)
  • A Child's Anthology of Poetry
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 about Jill Paton Walsh...

Share This Book