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Year of Wonders    by Geraldine Brooks order for
Year of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This is an excellent embellishment of a true incident that took place in the plague years in England. When a bolt of cloth (that was delivered from London to a small village) unleashes an outbreak of the plague, the village vicar decides to seal the village so none may leave or enter.

As the plague claims more and more victims, we are made to see the villagers' agonizing struggle for survival and how their belief is tested, and in many cases, turned to disbelief. Intertwined with this is the story of Anna Frith, a widow who is tutored by the vicar's wife, and who shows both uncommon intelligence and humanity to her fellow villagers in their time of need. There is a love story here as well, but it has a more modern feel to it, especially as set against the raw and rough life otherwise described.

Year of Wonders is a well-written story that has new currency, in that the descendants of the village's inhabitants were an important part of the recent discovery of the gene that allowed the survivors to live, despite the fact that some became ill from the plague.

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