Year of Wonders tells the story of a plague year and a village that shut itself off from the world through the eyes of Anna Frith, a widow with two small sons. Her sorrow grows as so many that she loves die from the plague, but she also comes to realize more about herself, her endurance, and what is truly important to her. This is the reason for the “wonders” in the title, since otherwise a year full of tending plague victims would not be anything near wonderful.
I enjoyed this book. I liked Anna’s interactions with Elinor, so characteristic of someone who has lost everything and thus clings on to the one thing she can have. Anna’s sorrow and growth were both so real. In truth, nearly everything in this book felt very human and very understandable. People’s reactions to losing their whole families result in fear, suspicion, and murder, especially in this time in history when so much could be blamed on a “witch”. Brooks writes well and draws you into this small community’s difficult and deadly year.
I think this book has value for every reader since it says so much about human nature – it goes beyond the historical fiction genre to convey meaning about suffering and understanding. I would certainly recommend it.