When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."
Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing "an inspiring heroine" (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.
©2010 Penguin Audiobooks (P)2010 Geraldine Brooks
I believe I would have loved this story if the reader had not been a nasal laconic reader. Although I finished the entire book, it was difficult because of the reader. I know it was read by the author so that is her portrayal of what she imagined the characters to be, but it prohibited me from fully appreciating the story. She is a talented author, but should have left the reading to someone else.
* love to work (nursing informatics) * love dogs * love speed * listen to books constantly *
This book is very well written, and the characters are vivid and alive - sorry actually many of them are dead by the end of the book. It is about the plague, after all. The author intensely transports you back to this era and surprises the reader at every turn. The story is so well crafted that I felt like I was watching a movie in my mind. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next, and found myself listening late into the night. Not for the squeamish, there is no lack of realistic detail about the hardships of the period and the nightmare of the plague. I love the author's style of writing, having gotten hooked with Caleb's Crossing. The author reads her own book again, but in a more ordinary spoken style, rather that the careful enunciation of Caleb's Crossing that irritated some readers (I liked it). I highly recommend this book of fiction that relies heavily on historical fact, based on a true story. It is fearful, horrifying, suspenseful, colorful, engaging, and irresistable.
Brooks puts the reader right into the middle of a 17th century English village that has been struck by the plague. Based on real events, the story recounts the village's decision to seal itself off from the surrounding countryside in order to contain the sickness. The first person point of view is from an intelligent, thoughtful young widow who keeps sheep and works as a maid to the Rector and his wife. The bitter conflicts and heartbreaking effects of the rapidly spreading deadly illness within the town come alive in this riveting story. The author is the narrator and I can not imagine a better performance. This is an emotional story that kept me awake late into the night listening.
Beautiful and heartbreaking....a wonderful historical novel that makes you happy you are living now. Beautifully read by the author. I couldn't stop listening so did all my grocery shopping and driving and house cleaning without stopping it.
I LOVED this book. I love Geraldine Brooks in general but this was by far my favorite and a must listen. I was sursprised by the few negative comments on the narration, I found it outstanding and perfectly suited to the story. Very, very well done. I was never so disappointed to have an audiobook finish. The story is grim and gruesome, but the detail and perserverance are inspiring. Simply amazing, do not miss this one if you enjoy historical fiction, especially this time period even a little bit.
Nothing could have made this a 5-star experience, but having a different reader might have moved it up to 3 stars.
There really isn't a lot of historical accuracy or insight in this book. The reader just went by a historical marker for a city that isolated itself during the plague and decided to make up a story about it. It's not a bad story, but I wanted to come away with a real understanding of what it was like to live through the plague. I didn't.
I know that the reader (author) can't help that she has a monotone, somewhat whiney voice, but one wonders what editor could possible have allowed her to proceed with this endeavor. At times, she writes with considerable passion, but her reading never has even the slightest hint of passion. It is almost a parady of bad reading. There are absolutely no dynamics in her performance at all. Most computers speak with considerably more enthusiasm and emotion. It really wrecked what was only an OK book anyway.
If you've never though about what it must have been like to have the people surrounding you dropping like flies from disease, this book might cause you to think about it. It won't give you much insight into what it was like, but it might raise the subject in your mind. Some of the relationships in the book are moderately interesting.
A not terribly interesting book on a really interesting topic.
I loved the intimate look into the life of a woman from this time period. How her social order and religious restrictions, and the rapid collapse of both, did not make her the 2 dimension character we tend to suppose from history books. Anna is has good heart while still being capable of selfishness and crude impulses. Anna is wonderfully human.
Anna was by far my favorite character and the best drawn one as well. Michael and Elinor were more the personification of self-imposed misery hidden by a mask of perfection. Some of the minor characters brilliantly shine for a moment as their time of the stage passes. I would especially call out the Quaker child, Mary and the Pantry Boy, Brand.
Ms. Brook's tempo keep the story moving slower than I would have read and, like a metronome, convened to me a sense of Anna plodding through the year as she struggled to simply place one foot in front of the other. That perseverance and determination seems core to Anna character. To me, that was as important as the accent or the pronunciations.
This is my second GB book and I loved them both! Ill be purchasing my third today. I highly recommend this audio book.
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