Saturday, November 26

Book Review: Year of Wonders

Title: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plauge

Author: Geraldine Brooks

Pages: 304

Summary: When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated mountain village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the plague year 1666, as her fellow villagers make an extraordinary choice: convinced by a visionary young minister they elect to quarantine themselves within the village boundaries to arrest the spread of the disease. But as death reaches into every household, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I didn't dislike the book, I didn't enjoy it either. There wasn't much to the book, the characters, writing and story were all just average for me. There wasn't anything that pulled me in to keep my attention, just a group of characters going through the motions to survive.

I figured the book would be a slow moving book, that would help develop the characters and how the situation impacted them. Which it did, the author managed to pull that off nicely, but the characters were to one sides, it was hard to connect to them and their situation emotionally, which is what is needed in a book like this. The focus on characters was there, but it wasn't enough. They came off as average characters, without the emotional strength to carry the book.

The author did do a good job at creating a historically accurate book. It appeared to be well researched, but the book didn't seem to move beyond that - it was just an average historical fiction.

Would I recommend it to read: If you enjoy historical fiction yes. Otherwise, I'm not sure I would.

What to read next: I've heard a lot of people rave about the author, so I'd suggest more by the author.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge


  1. She is an author whose works I've meant to explore for ages; I've heard her in a couple of interviews and like the way she approaches research and storytelling so that it informs her work but doesn't saturate it with details (though not sure if this was achieved for you in this one).

  2. I read this book some years ago and really enjoyed it. I think many people dislike the ending, but I thought it was fitting. That said, I can't remember the story very well, so perhaps it didn't stick with me quite so much...

  3. I have read this book and mostly enjoyed it, but I have never read anything else by her.

  4. My younger sister loved this book, I think she loves all of Geraldine Brooks. I tried to read it on her recommendation but I have to admit that I found it far too slow moving. I didn't even finish it truth be told.

  5. Buried in Print - This book just didn't work to me, characterization was one of the biggest issues I had with it. Haven't given up on the author though,I have another book on my shelf I'm going to try.

    Aarti - The ending wasn't fantastic, but it worked for how the characters were written. Wasn't what I expected, but I wasn't as upset about it as other readers. To me it's a lot like all the other stories out there about the time period, which is why it won't stick with me.

    Kailana - First time with the author too. I'll probably wait before I read one of her other books.

    Becky - This book I can see why it would be hard to finish. Not sure about her others though.

  6. I loved this book until the ending which I thought was completely far fetched. I attended an event earlier this year where the author was asked about the ending and she actually outlined the real life case that inspired the ending!

  7. Marg - Interesting information on the ending. Alot of people didn't like the ending much. Thanks for sharing.