A Year Of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks was this month’s book choice, with the first statement being that I thought the novel had been mis-sold- the front cover states a love story and I naturally presumed that it was about the two lovers that met up in secret until one died, when in fact it was nothing of the sort.
We were all in agreement that the subject matter of being set in Eyam spurred us on to read and kept our interest in the book, however most of the members were disappointed with the weak ending. Although we thought the writing very realistic, we also thought in parts the author contrived certain situations in order to tie up loose ends or give an excuse for a character to reappear or depart. Whilst some failed to find a connection with the story, one member admitted to crying when she read of the babies dying.
The character of Anna was pivotal to the story being told. However the fact that she was deemed as well-educated, didn’t seem credible for a working mother with children. Although some members stated that she may have had an affinity to words and found the process of learning quite simple.
We also discussed the fact that the novel had underlying feminist views – all the woman characters were seen as strong individuals dealing with the plague and all that it brought, whilst the men seemed weak and feeble in comparison.
After Jo’s description of her visit to Eyam, it gave us a better understanding of how the author researched the book and how she very cleverly interweaves real and made up characters into the book. I think we all agreed that we would pay Eyam a visit at some point and that althought the story of Anna was okay, the strength in the novel lied in the subject matter of where it was set.