Kate's Reviews > Year of Wonders

Year of Wonders by Geraldine  Brooks
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's review
May 08, 14

bookshelves: 2011, historical-fiction
Read from December 22 to 31, 2011

Brooks, being the acclaimed author she is and one loved by so many, I felt I should try and read at least one of her books, and considering Year of Wonders, is often quoted the "one" most have liked best, I too chose to read it.
Year of wonder is a book set in a small rural town in Derbyshire England during 1665-66 when The Plague ripped through town, culling two thirds of its inhabitants, mostly due to a pact made by the townsfolk to quarantine themselves so as not to spread the plague further, thus sparing outsiders from the disease.
The story is enlightening of the time. It speaks of the confusion and helplessness of a people struck down. It is gruesome in description and spares little in how the disease ravaged both body and mind, as the townsfolk struggle in grief and fear as they watch loved ones and neighbours struck down.
It was a time when heathen susperstitions are re-kindled; when the greedy took advantage of the fearful, the desperate and the weary.
The book highlights how crisis brings out the true nature of people; the very best and the very worst.
For me, the book illustrated how a community pulls together in times of need, something that seems to happen less and less in the age of the WWW, where we can speak to a stranger in a land we have never ventured too, but can barely raise a hello to the family across the street, should we happen to even know their names.
My criticisms of this book are that some of the old language, mostly of items used, was not self-explanatory, though it was obvious how much research had gone into writing this book.
Also the Epilogue, I feel, didn't tie neatly with the rest of the book. Though it was satisfying in some ways, it was a little peculiar.

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