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Year of Wonders is an enthralling story of death and happiness in during the Plague

Bea’s Books

I was bored, so I picked through the bookshelf in my house in the hopes of finding something to read. This is how I found “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks and began a journey through the Plague days in medieval England. 

This book encapsulates what it meant to be a woman during the Plague and explores themes of death, self-discovery and what it means to be truly happy. This one took me a while to read, especially because of the flowery language and sometimes slow-developing storyline, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was sad to finish it. 

The story begins in a village in the home of Anna Frith, the recently widowed mother of two young children. Anna worked at the rectory in the town, cooking for the reverend and his wife. After taking a traveler in for a night, the man becomes ill and dies. No one knows exactly what happened to the man until others begin catching a similar sickness, causing the death of a plethora of townspeople. Anna watches as her friends and neighbors fall ill, and begins attempts to help the town, making new friends and discovering who she, and those around her, really are. Throughout the story Anna’s tireless efforts are inspiring and small interludes to the lives of different families gives the book more perspective. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought it held a lot of hidden messages about what it means to be alive and how simple kindnesses can change lives. It had me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next (a surprise to me!). Anna’s character seems to be one that anyone can connect with, though I did find her to be shallow at times and wished the author would have given her more depth. The story was also slightly slow, especially near the beginning, but I was glad I continued reading, especially because it sparked so many interesting conversations about the Plague, womanhood in medieval times and how different everything is now. Death is a major piece of the book and I found myself having to step back purely because of the heaviness the story carried. Although I found the story enthralling and fascinating to pick apart, many themes that appear in “Year of Wonders” are very mature, therefore I would recommend it to anyone ages 14+. 

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