A Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
The first novel of the author is set in the Peak District village of Eyam which she visited on a hiking break while working as a Middle East correspondent. The history of the village is that the residents heroically quarantined themselves when they realised they were facing an outbreak of the highly infectious Plague in 1665/6. Many died. The story in the novel poignantly traces out how extreme circumstances broke down the established order of society, religious certainties and produced new ways of thinking. These formerly unimaginable changes are woven from detailed descriptions of the reactions of different village residents to disruption, fear, grief and exhaustion.