This book makes it official. Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite authors. She writes with the quality of a classic author and is a beautiful storyteller. This was my second Brooks novel I’ve read and both times I have been left with such a satisfied sentiment that I feel like I had just witness an inspiring piece of art.
Year of Wonders tells a fictional story that is loosely based on an actual village in England called “the plague village”. In 1666 a contaminated piece of cloth makes it out of the infected and dying London and arrives in a small village. When the plague is discovered among it’s members, the population take an oath to remain among the disease in order to prevent the spread to nearby villages. As a result, two-thirds of the citizens die and the rest are left to pick up the pieces.
This moving story is told through the experience of a young mother who is transformed as a result of witnessing the worst of humanity along with the best of love. This agonizing time becomes a “year of wonders” as she observes new life and new beginning arising out of the blackness of death. It is so beautifully written that one can not help but be moved and quite possibly brought to tears. There were moments when I ached from the wickedness that people can act on. On the other hand, you see true love displayed and hope found in the end.
I have heard it said that this novel was too dark and depressing. But the truth is life can be that way; yet the victory comes with the hope and recovery for which humanity can persevere.