Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks
From the Back Cover:
When the plague visits an isolated village in the English countryside, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer.
Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers endure a self-imposed quarantine to keep the disease from spreading. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a year of wonders. Inspired by a true story, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. With stunning emotional intelligence, Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.
Simultaneously, I’m listening to this audio book, also about the Bubonic Plague. So, yes, I’m kind of obsessing over pandemics.
From the publisher:
The Great Plague is one of the most compelling events in human history, even more so now, when the notion of plague—be it animal or human—has never loomed larger as a contemporary public concern
The plague that devastated Asia and Europe in the 14th century has been of never-ending interest to both scholarly and general readers. Many books on the plague rely on statistics to tell the story: how many people died; how farm output and trade declined. But statistics can’t convey what it was like to sit in Siena or Avignon and hear that a thousand people a day are dying two towns away. Or to have to chose between your own life and your duty to a mortally ill child or spouse. Or to live in a society where the bonds of blood and sentiment and law have lost all meaning, where anyone can murder or rape or plunder anyone else without fear of consequence.
In The Great Mortality, author John Kelly lends an air of immediacy and intimacy to his telling of the journey of the plague as it traveled from the steppes of Russia, across Europe, and into England, killing 75 million people—one third of the known population—before it vanished.
By the way, the watch is a Hamilton Ventura, a 1988 replica of the original 1957 electric wrist watch. Also known as the Elvis watch. Elvis wore it in Blue Hawaii (1961). The Men in Black franchise also features the Hamilton Ventura.