Sunday, September 14, 2008

YEAR OF WONDERS

Author:  Geraldine Brooks
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Published:  2001
Personal Rating:  3.25/5
Yearly Count:  122



Anna Frith's life is already filled with despair when the English village in which she lives is infiltrated by the plague in 1666.  We are escorted to the front lines of this torment and watch the suffering that doesn't escape any family.  While the choice to quarantine themselves prevents the plague from spreading to surrounding cities, the death toll rises daily within the village.  Ultimately, we see the best in some, the worst in others, and the pure ugliness in the plague.

The historical aspects of the novel were fascinating.   However, I didn't believe in Anna's character as a 17th century English woman or some of the other characters, which made it a bit difficult for me to fully appreciate the story line.  And, the ending . . . well, I'll call it peculiar.  It felt like Brooks pulled a scenario out of a hat, tacked it on the end, and called it a day.  Odd, very odd.

24 comments:

  1. Well I'm glad you read and reviewed this one instead of me. I have been considering getting this from the library or buying it but I don't think I will now. It's a fairly long novel too, isn't it?

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  2. I agree that Anna had a somewhat modern sensibility. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book up until that ending. The ending was awful. It just didn't seem to fit the rest of the novel. I can see it fitting better now, but only because the rest of the novel has sunk in my estimation and not because the ending improved upon reflection.

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  3. The ending caused much discussion in our book group. Lots of "huh?'s" and several theories presented for why chose that ending.

    Overall, most everyone liked the book though.

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  4. Joy,

    I read this a few years ago with my book club and really enjoyed it. Most of us liked it and I recall we had a great discussion.
    I don't recall the ending being an issue...I just may have to re-read it or look it up!!

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  5. I'm sorry to hear that this wasn't a great read. I'm currently reading March by Brooks, and I haven't made up my mind about it yet. I have been wanting to read Year of Wonders, and now you have made me curious about the ending!

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  6. I liked this book much better than "March." The ending struck me as odd also.

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  7. I agree with you on the historical aspect of The Plague. It *was* fascinating. I also agree that parts of it were very odd.

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  8. I loved this book right up until that ending! Just seems too not fit the rest of the book or the time frame or anything!

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  9. Dar ~ Most people (see above as a small example) *grin* really liked this book, so please don't go by my word. I honestly thought some of it was very good and other parts - not so good. I actually think you'd like it more than I did.

    R ~ Not only did it seem to not fit, it was so abrupt! The book was going at a very slow pace and it was like all of a sudded she (Brooks) decided it was time to pack up and go home!

    Kay ~ I liked it, too, but I would only recommend it to historical buffs.

    Bonnie ~ This is one of those types of books that I would have loved to discuss along the way. Even if it were just a buddy-read. I know I would have enjoyed it more.

    Laura ~ It's pretty gloomy and describes the plague in detail, so if you're interested in that, you'll problem like it to some degree. The ending - well, you'll have to read it to find out! :)

    Framed ~ What was she thinking!?! :)

    3M ~ Wasn't that interesting? I only knew little bits about the plague, so this really opened my eyes to the suffering it caused.

    Marg ~ I couldn't agree more - it just didn't fit.

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  10. The ending felt like when she got to the last page of her outline she accidentally picked up the outline of the ending from a different book. It just seemed so disconnected.

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  11. I've had this on my tbr for years. Now with your reviews and the discussion I'm even more intrigued to read it and find out what the fuss is all about!

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  12. SuziQoregon ~ It sure did!

    Nicola ~ LOL gotcha! :)

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  13. I have this on my shelf. I really liked March.

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  14. I keep hearing really good things about Brooks's books. I have People of the Book on my shelf and was so excited to read it, but those pesky challenges keep getting in the way. Too bad the lead character wasn't quite as believable. I've read books like that and it really irks me sometimes. Have you read anything else by her?

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  15. I've read both March and People of the Book. I really enjoyed March, and liked People of the Book but not as much as her other books.

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  16. Booklogged ~ Have you been convinced one way or the other on this one?

    Trish ~ Nope, I haven't read anything else by her and don't plan on reading any more. Not that I'm banning her or anything like that, I'm just not interested - for right now anyway.

    Marg ~ She's a popular writer and I'm happy for others that enjoy her work (you included), but I don't get excited when I see her name.

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  17. I read this, too, and had the exact problems you did. I felt Anna's character had too modern a sensibility, and the ending just didn't fit the book! But otherwise, I enjoyed it--it was definitely a world that was new to me :)

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  18. I started to pick up one of Geraline Brook's books before but I'd heard other people had the same complaints that you did.

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  19. Hey, Joy - just responding to your comment asking about The First Patient by Michael Palmer: I was concerned that it would have too much political jargon in it and I'm not a big fan of political thriller-type books. But it really didn't focus that much on the political aspects. It was more what was happening to the president and his doctor friend trying to figure out what was going on.

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  20. Gentle Reader ~ I found the story of the plague very interesting.

    Ladytink ~ Depending on your preference, it still could be a worthy read.

    Twiga ~ Good, then I just may pick it up. :) Thank you, Twiga.

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  21. I guess I liked this a bit more than you did, but I know what you mean about the ending. It was a bit disjointed, or, not quite fitting with the rest of the book. Nonetheless, I gave it a 4/5, as you saw in my review. Will you read more by her? I'm curious about The People of the Book, but not so much about March.

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  22. Les ~ I'm not opposed to reading another by her, but this genre doesn't draw me in. If I were to read another, it wouldn't be March. I haven't looked into The People of the Book all that much to make a decision at this point.

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  23. I felt the same way about the book - it was fascinating, until the end. It was like the author saw some random History Channel documentary the night before the novel was due to her editor. I didn't see the ending coming a mile away. I've heard amazing things, however, about her latest novel, People of the Book, so I might try that out soon. Thanks for your thoughtful posts!!

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  24. Megan ~ I'm glad to hear that there are some amazing comments regarding People of the Book. I'm not ready to venture into another Brooks book, but I will keep that in mind when I do. Thanks.

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