title: Year of Wonders [purchase here]
author: Geraldine Brooks
genre: historical fiction
originally published: 2oo1
source: New York Public Library
So, if you recall, I wasn’t too enthused about People of the Book. I thought the plot just came together far too easily, which made it hard to stay in the story.
Geraldine Brooks won the Pulitzer for christsake. There has to be SOMETHING I’m missing. I’m determined to like her…it’s just not going so well so far.
As far as Year of Wonders goes, the plot worked far better. It’s set during an outbreak of the plague in a small village in 1600s England. I liked how she started near the chronological end of the action, then looped back and filled us in. She made some really strong choices in terms of foreshadowing. For example, you find out in the first few pages of the book that Anna’s mistress, the rector’s wife, has passed away during the previous year, the subsequent action of the book to follow. The thing that kept me reading was wanting to know how it happened and when. But that was pretty much the only thing that kept me reading.
In a novel set during the plague, one would think there’d be soooo much material to draw from that it would be impossible for the story to drag…one would think. There are only so many times you can be engaged by page after page after page of Anna tending to villagers’ bursting plague sores. There were some engaging events, but they weren’t spaced well.
Rubric Rating: 5. Wonderfully researched. Some very compelling moments but weighted down by too much repetition. So maybe too historically accurate 😉