Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders
A harrowing look at how the bubonic plague of the 17th century almost destroys a small English village’s spirit. Anna Frith is just 18 years old, but already a widow with two small boys when a traveling tailor arrives from London, carrying a bolt of cloth that he intends to make clothes out of for the village people. Anna has a room to rent in her little house, and offers it to him. A few short weeks later, he dies painfully in bed of a high fever and pulsing sores, and soon everyone who bought a dress from him is also sick. For the tailor’s bolt of cloth carried fleas, and the fleas carried the dreaded Plague. And so begins a year of sickness that affects both the minds and bodies of Anna’s little village. In their fear and delirium, the townspeople begin to turn on each other, and claim that it is witchcraft that is spreading the disease. Anna, one of the few who doesn’t seem to be affected, works day and night helping the sick, squashing rumors of witchcraft, and questioning her own beliefs and morals when her two small sons die in her arms. A terribly sad yet thoughtful story full of complex questions about life, death and fate.

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