The Year of Wonders
- By: Anja Weidmann
On the Pennine route, between Manchester and Sheffield, there is an intriguing sign marking the turning to “plague village.” This sign points towards the rustic village of Eyam, a picture of countryside tranquillity, complete with flower boxes, coffee shop, and, more unusually, a museum detailing the tragic events after the discovery of plague among the villagers in 1666.
These events are seen through the eyes of Anna Frith, widow, mother, and servant to the rector and his wife, Elinor. Beginning in 1665, The Year of Wonders describes the unfolding of the plague outbreak: the arrival of the first, unsuspected carrier, the unwitting actions which spread the contagion, the villagers decision to isolate themselves with the sickness, and the eventual release of the survivors. Anna witnesses the breakdown of the established village order and sees her friends and neighbours struggling to adjust to emotional loss and physical hardship.
One of the