Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Using this horrible era in history as the basis of the book, it takes you into the homes and into the lives of the people in the 1600's who had old myths about witchcraft, awful ways of curing illnesses, and describes their ignorance of medical procedures and cures and lack of them.
The main character Anna Frith takes in a lodger, George Vicars, after her husband was killed in a mine accident. He was an itinerant tailor and had a bolt of cloth delivered from London to Anna's home. The cloth had the plague fleas and eggs inside and thus began the epidemic. The tiny, remote village had entire families wiped out from this one incident.
The clergyman talked the townspeople into isolating themselves from the rest of the surrounding villages to protect others from the plague...no one was allowed in or out of the village. Anna, the clergyman, and his wife helped with all the deaths and also births that occurred during this year of death and mourning.
The characters are described in detail and are quite interesting. It definitely isn't a boring historical account of this epidemic...the weaving of the lives and the history makes you aware of what it was like to live during that period of time in Europe and encourages you to continue reading.
Here is a website describing Eyam village and the crisis that fell upon them....Geraldine Brooks definitely did her research.
ENJOY...you will love the book.