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
Listen - no - really didn't like the narrator's tone of voice.
The strength and fortitude of the main character Anna Frith.
Almost anyone; maybe Davina Porter?
Anna Frith, perhaps Eleanor as well. I'd love to hear more about Anna's experiences during the epilogue of the tale.
I enjoyed the book, and the adaptation of this 'true' story of a plague year in Darbyshire, England. My only complaint; the narrator had the most annoying nasal, downcast quality to her voice. While this was not a happy story for the most part - each time I started up the recording my own mood would deflate to match the tone of the story. Once the book got going I could kind of ignore the tone of the narrator's voice - but ugh - not my favorite narrator by any stretch.
It made the era come alive. Detailed descriptions of living conditions--homes, clothing, food, work, sanitation--one can easily imagine oneself back then.
Do you ever wonder what it would've been like to have lived centuries ago, coping with harsh conditions we have no experience of today--feudalism, plague, witch hunts, etc.?What was it like to be an ordinary person back then? Year of Wonders describes how bubonic plague affected one Derbyshire village during 1666, through the life of one woman.
Although events are harrowing, bringing out both the best and worst in villagers, there is a goodness and humanity that makes this book uplifting and hopeful.
Geraldine Brooks' voice and narration made me think she suffers from major depression. If the story hadn't been so engaging, I would not have been able to endure her narration. If there should be a choice among narrators in future recordings, I recommend anyone but Ms Brooks.
The author/narrator did a wonderful job of subtly and delicately telling her tale. No one knows her story better than an author, and Geraldine Brooks breathed life into her characters and scenes.
Such an intriguing story, with whispers of nuance liberally sprinkled throughout the story. The tale unfolds in the 17th century with a nicely-crafted set-up for the birth and spread of a deadly plague that brutally takes lives and shreds the fabric of a small, rural community. Even though a few lives in the community are spared, their souls are flayed by the experience and they lose their innocence along with the lives they have known since birth. Tragic death and social collapse reduce the living conditions of the survivors to primitive survival.
This fascinating story is about revival, redemption, and the innate resilience of humans. Our main character discovers her ability to adapt and find beauty and comfort in the essence of love, sacrifice, and benevolence.
The story is well-researched, and the small details of 17th-century life flesh out the fascinating story. That is, until the end of the tale. The cadence of the end of the tale is out of step with the rest of the story. The end doesn't do justice to the spare and well-told story of a remarkable woman who lives through hell on earth. Despite the improbable end, Years of Wonder is a compelling, enjoyable, and worthwhile read.
At first I thought I was not going to like this book, but, was pleasently surprised to find I was enjoying it and found it to be very informative. Great listen - I went through it all in two days.
Seemed personnable and the voice seemed to go well with the story.
Yes, but it took two days.
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.
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.
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..."
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.
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.
I liked the unexpected twists and turns of the story, it was not predictable. Anna seemed to be a little too lucky.
The ending was excellent, unexpected with a few interesting twists.I
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.
I do not think the Year of Wonders needs a follow-up book because it ended so wonderfully.
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