Year of Wonders

By Geraldine Brooks
Binding:Paperback
Publisher:Penguin (Non-Classics), (4/30/2002)
Language:English



Average Rating:
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3.50 out of 5 (4 Clubie's ratings)


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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.

"The novel glitters . . . A deep imaginative engagement with how people are changed by catastrophe." (The New Yorker)

"Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair." (O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Brooks proves a gifted storyteller as she subtly reveals how ignorance, hatred and mistrust can be as deadly as any virus. . . . Year of Wonders is itself a wonder." (People )
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Harriet's thoughts on "Year of Wonders"
updated on:7/16/2018



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Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "Year of Wonders"
updated on:4/8/2010

I was wavering between a 4 and a 5 the entire way through the book, and then the ending brought it all the way up to a 5/5.

The book is narrated by Georgie's husband...it goes back and forth telling about the life of Dora Jordan also an actress/comedian who Georgie portrays in a one-woman show and Georgie's life with her husband and three boys.

Georgie left the stage in New York to be a stay-at-home mother, but now that her husband has been transferred to London and the children are enrolled in London schools, she wants to go back to work in the theater.

Georgie lands the role as Dora Jordan on her first tryout. The play is a hit for Georgie, and she ends up traveling and leaving her husband and children for long periods of time and having an affair with the director. Her heart aches every time she leaves her children, but she still won't give up the touring. The ending will haunt you long after you turn the last page.

....you will enjoy the book and not want to put it down

DEFINITELY Unleash it



vjreader13's thoughts on "Year of Wonders"
updated on:8/16/2009



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Allyloo44's thoughts on "Year of Wonders"
updated on:5/25/2009

I did not enjoy this novel, it was very informative about the Plague and how utterly aweful it was, but there was no silver lining, I like depressing books, but there needs to be some happiness laced in it, there wasn't hardly a pinch of happiness here.

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"Year of Wonders"
By Geraldine Brooks

Average Rating:
Unleash it
3.50 out of 5 (4 Clubie's ratings)


The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 
 
 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

  • All of the characters in this novel have their failings and as a result they are all fully human. Are you surprised by the secrets Elinor and Michael Mompellion each reveal to Anna about their marriage? How do they change your feelings about each character? Do they make either seem weaker in a way? 

  • The Bradford family bears the brunt of Mompellion's rage when they leave town to save themselves. However, weren't they only doing what every other noble family did in those days: run because they had the means to run? Setting aside the events near the end of the novel (which make it clear that one would be hard-pressed to find a redeeming quality in any of them), can you really blame the Bradfords for running? 

  • How much of Mompellion's push for the quarantine had to do with the secrets he shared with Elinor? Did his own dark side and self-loathing push him to sacrifice the town or was he really acting out of everyone's best interests? 

  • Keeping in mind that this story takes place a good twenty-five years before the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts, what is the role of the Gowdie women in the novel? What is it about these women that drives their neighbors to murderous rage? How does their nonconformity lead to their becoming scapegoats? 

  • How would you explain Anna's mental and spiritual unraveling? What are the pivotal experiences leading up to her breakdown and her eventual rebirth? 

  • Discuss the feminist undertones of the story. How does each female characterAnna, Elinor, the Gowdies, and even Anna's stepmotherexhibit strengths that the male characters do not? 

  • In a story where the outcome is already known from the very beginningmost of the villagers will diediscuss the ways in which the author manages to create suspense. 

  • The author creates an incredible sense of time and place with richly textured language and thoughtful detailsof both the ordinary (everyday life in Eyam) and the extraordinary (the gruesome deaths of the villagers). Discuss some of the most vivid images and their importance to the story and to your own experience reading it. 

  • Can we relate the story of this town's extraordinary sacrifice to our own time? Is it unrealistic to expect a village facing a similar threat to make the same decision nowadays? What lessons might we learn from the villagers of Eyam?


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    About the Author
    Geraldine Brooks
    is the author of March, Year of Wonders, Nine Parts of Desire, and Foreign Correspondence. Previously, Brooks was a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. She was born and raised in Australia.



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