Reading this book in early/mid-March 2020 was a huge error in judgement on my part. I guess I thought immersing myself in a plague story would lessen my anxieties about the real world. It…didn’t work. Having said this, Year of Wonders was truly a captivating read with a dynamic heroine who faces the horrors of the plague on and comes out on the other side deeply changed.
Anna Frith is a somewhat timid young widow in a small English village who is making ends meet my working as a servant and taking in a boarder. When the Bubonic Plague arrives, the villagers decide to completely isolate themselves completely until it subsides. As sickness and death ravish the citizens, they begin to turn on one another and their basest instincts take over. First the “outsiders” are targeted but soon families are turning against each other. We see this all through Anna’s eyes as she works with the wife of the charismatic young minister to treat the sick and dying. The loss and horrors of the plague cause changes in Anna as seismic as those it caused in Europe at the time.
Someday Covid-19 will be a distant memory. I suggest picking this one up when we are through this current pandemic and you are back in a space when you can read about sickness, loss supposedly good Christian people turning on their neighbors when things get hard.