“How little we know, I thought, of the people we live amongst.”
I picked this one up because I thoroughly enjoyed People of the Book, another of Ms. Brooks books. This seemed a good subject matter for her - historical fiction, localized to one little English town.
Year of Wonders is about the plague, and the havoc it wreaked on one little village. Based on true events in the village of Eyam, we follow Anna Frith through the death and decay of 1666. An infected bolt of cloth brings the disease to the town, leaving all kinds of destruction in its wake. It's a tale of survival, despair, catastrophe, and above all, hope.
Anna is a wonderful character, trying to continue to cope and be useful as the world crumbles around her. Helped by the assistance of the local reverend and his delightful wife, Anna tries to help the community survive the crisis. It shows how low some people were brought, capitalizing off the misery of others, panicking in grief and laying blame at the wrong feet. But it also shows how good can still shine through the darkness.
I feel like I should have more to say about this, but I really don't. It's a beautifully written piece of historical fiction, sometimes incredibly hard to read, but always worth it.