This book was chosen as Notable Book by both the New York Times and the Washington Post.
On the frontispiece Brooks quotes a poem by John Dryden recounting “…When spotted deaths ran arm’d through every street” — a vision of the plague striking London in 1666. He called this poem the Annus Mirabilis, The Year of Wonders. This titular “year of wonders” is obviously a thread that runs strong through the book. We follow the protagonist, Anna (a housekeeper in the small mountainous village of Eyam) through the plague year of 1666 and beyond. In the beginning the plague is only vaguely referred to, but as you work through the book the historical detail becomes more precise and very graphic. I was intruiged by the fact that the plague was bought to Eyam via an infected bolt of cloth. The ending isn’t disastrous but Brooks doesn’t sell it out to the cheap trick of a happy ending, either. As a whole the book manages to remain realistic through a sweeping, dramatic narrative.
In summary: A good read, well-researched, an interesting and breathless book by an Australian author.
If you like this book, we have some other books in stock that you might like:
Wrack by James Bradley, a gripping historical mystery set in New South Wales.
Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks.
In The Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, set in 16th Century Venice.
L’Yan recommends this book for people who like Salley Vickers, Kate Grenville, David Malouf and Valerie Anand.