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Year of Wonders | [Geraldine Brooks]

Year of Wonders

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (444 )
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3.7 (334 )
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3 star
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-09-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The book was great,but the narrator was not"

    Loved this book,which I bought after listening to this author's other book,The People of the Book.
    This story is fascinating, and I know I would enjoy it in print, but sadly the author is not the best narrator of her own material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kat MD 08-09-12
    Kat MD 08-09-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "One Crazy Year"

    **Spoiler Alert**

    1st 3/4 of the Book: 4 stars
    Last 1/4 of the Book: 2 stars

    The plague portion of the book I really enjoyed (that sounds weird, I know). It was dark and sad and haunting. At first described as an beautiful pasturial and hard-working community, Eyam in Derbyshire, made you ache to visit historic England and then dashed your hopes as the plague infested this village in 1665-66. You felt the pain of the villagers as they suffered through the bubonic plague. I found myself encouraging Anna and Elinor Mompellion as they researched herbs to relieve plague victims and to fight off the disease.

    Then things got weird. This seemingly accurate and heart-wrenching story started to become a romance novel. Not that I mind a romance, but it just didn't fit the rest of the book. I can handle Anna getting down with the rector. Even though there were no real hints of her attraction to the minister, I could get behind Anna wanting to experience her friend Elinor's love life. To have the heroic minister turn into a dark and twisted character seemed wrong. There were only a few hints into this dark nature, and I didn't think it was ample build up for what transpired.

    Next, the Bradfords turn into the ultra villians after appearing for only 10 pages beforehand. I understand by abandoning the town during the plague made them bad people - they certainly caused the town grief during their worst moments. But to become adulterers and baby murderers all of the sudden was just...puzzling.

    Finally, Anna sails away (by herself...in 1666...yeaaaaaaaaah) only to become one of many wives of a Arabian doctor. So, all of the character building and strength is washed away as she willing becomes a wife to live with a doctor and learn his medical wisdom.

    I don't know if Brooks wanted to make the book more exciting by building in a thrilling conclusion, but it stole the spirit of the 3/4 of the book. The majority of Year of Wonders is about a community who heroically suffered through the plague without endangering the surrounding villages. Readers felt the small joys because that's all the town had during a year of hell. As a reader, you felt pride in Anna's strength as she realized her gift in medicine. To have her just abandon the village after months of suffering with it seemed wrong.

    Regarding the narration - Geraldine Brooks' narrated her own book. Her raspy British accent suited Anna, but it took awhile to get used to it. It became a little monotone - I found myself tuning her out at key points.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janie 08-07-12
    Janie 08-07-12

    Papoter

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Audible: WHY WHY WHY do you let authors read....?"

    Although I did get used to the reader (the author) and you fall into her cadence, she is NOT a professional and it really took a lot away from the story for me.

    The story, BTW, was excellent. I loved it, despite a very bizarre ending that comes out of left field. I'm not talking about a typical surprise ending - I'm talking about "W H E R E did T H A T come from..."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanie 07-29-12
    Jeanie 07-29-12

    Jean

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    17
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    "Hire a professional"

    This is an excellent book but I wish it had been narrated by someone who could do it justice. The author is, without a doubt, a very talented writer but her narration has a dull, tired and almost sing-song quality to it. It reminded me to listen! before I make a selection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karol United States 07-28-12
    karol United States 07-28-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "HATED THE ENDING!"
    Any additional comments?

    Despite the fact that the narrator was annoyingly unskilled and monotonous, I enjoyed the story very much. That is I enjoyed it until the last chapter. I would have given the story a five star, but because of the ending - I feel I am being very generous with four stars. In the end though the overall rating was a three star because of the narration. I did get use to the narration by the end of the book and she does have a pleasant accent; however, I kept wishing I could tell the characters apart most of the time. I would recommend it though because the first part of the book is so well written and deftly drew me into Anna's world, her sorrows, triumphs, tragedy, loves, fears etc. I liked Anna Frith, as well as Michael and Elinor Mompellion very much and found it hard to put the book down at times. I guess the problem is that I was so invested in the characters that I found the ending completely unbelievable and ridiculous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat United States 07-27-12
    Pat United States 07-27-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good authors do not necessarily make good readers."
    What did you like best about Year of Wonders? What did you like least?

    I liked the unexpected twists and turns of the story, it was not predictable. Anna seemed to be a little too lucky.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The ending was excellent, unexpected with a few interesting twists.I


    How could the performance have been better?

    Have a different reader, Ms. Brooks was awful!!! Perhaps Beverly Dunn would have been good, or just about anyone with some expression in their voice.


    Do you think Year of Wonders needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I do not think the Year of Wonders needs a follow-up book because it ended so wonderfully.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April BILLINGS, MONTANA, United States 07-24-12
    April BILLINGS, MONTANA, United States 07-24-12 Member Since 2010

    When ever I can't read a book I love to listen to one. I am addicted.

    ratings
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    131
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    "Difficult but worth it."
    What did you like best about Year of Wonders? What did you like least?

    In the end it made me feel humble about life and reminded me that some people have had a much harder life then I have. But it was hard to really get drawn in at first, but it was worth it to keep listening.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I was surprised that the beginning of the book is a chapter that is chronologically almost at the end of the book. It made me interested just to see how that point had came about.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I have listen to easier voices, so are just pleasant on the ears. But the words felt true to the story.


    Was Year of Wonders worth the listening time?

    Yes. Not an all time favorite but worth listening to. I do not regret it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan FELLSMERE, FL, United States 06-04-12
    Susan FELLSMERE, FL, United States 06-04-12
    ratings
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    5
    2
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    "Definitly Worth the Listen"
    Where does Year of Wonders rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top ten


    What did you like best about this story?

    the story line based on true events


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Sometimes Geraldine's voice can be a bit insipid but might be the character she was trying to protray as well. It was my first Geraldine Brooks listen. She surely writes a great story though.


    If you could take any character from Year of Wonders out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Her Muslim husband for his insight and widom.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Calabasas, CA, United States 03-14-12
    Jennifer Calabasas, CA, United States 03-14-12
    ratings
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    14
    2
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    Story
    "Enthralling!"
    What does Geraldine Brooks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I thought the writer did a great job reading this book. He voice really captured the tone of the book well. Very compelling story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Bay Area, California 01-22-12
    Kindle Customer Bay Area, California 01-22-12 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Story/Bad Narration"

    The story was very good and engaging; unfortunately, the book was read by the author. This would have been a much better production had a professional done the narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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