April 13, 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

I thought Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders almost as good a story as Brooks’ previous book that I have read, People of the Book. In Year of Wonders we follow the story of 18 year old Anna Frith during the year of the plague in her small remote mountain village in 1665 England. Anna is a young widow, her husband Sam having died some months earlier, living in a small cottage with her two young boys. She helps the Rector’s wife Elinor Mompellion with household duties and in return Elinor takes Anna under her wing, passing along her knowledge of language, herbs and faith. Anna takes in a young journeyman tailor as a lodger for additional income and as spring unfolds, Anna and the tailor begin to have feelings for each other. The day after gifting Anna with a magnificent gown, the tailor falls ill and dies mysteriously. Another love Anna has lost. The year that follows is agonizing for Anna, as not only do her two young boys die of the plague but also her most cherished friend and more than a third of her small village. The local physik’s having being accused of witchery and then murdered, Elinor enlists Anna as her assistant and they dedicate themselves to helping those who have fallen ill. There are a myriad of characters in the story whose behaviour ranges from compassionate to deranged to evil, both helping and hindering the efforts of Anna and the Mompellions to keep the faith of the village, administer to the dying and provide help to the living. Brooks’ has an amazing quality of drawing us into her story and making us become invested in the lives of her main characters, especially true with Anna Frith. Anna has experienced heart-wrenching losses but still summons the will and determination to survive and forge her destiny. She is butterfly in a cocoon waiting to spread her wings…and only after devastating losses and unwelcome revelations does Anna get the courage to break free of her current existence and risk all to find happiness and love of a kind. An amazing story about personal growth, love and hatred, giving and loss, faith and staying true to yourself. My Rating: 4.0 Chapters Amazon Related Reviews: People of the Book


  1. This is a book I really want to read. I've heard such great things about it and the time period in history really interests me. Thanks for the great review!

  2. I really liked this book, right up to the end, which seemed really strange to me!

  3. If you are interested about this period I definitely recommend this book!

    I liked the ending although I thought it a bit rushed. It sort of made sense in an odd way.