The plot is contrived and straight as ruler and the characters are one dimensional, but the book is still a great read. Like Brooks’ People of the Book Year of Wonders covers a piece of history I knew nothing about. She presents her exceptional powers as a researcher in a totally palatable manner. Year of Wonders gives us the lives of a small English town in 1166 just as bubonic plague arrives. We squirm not so much because half the towns people die, but because the impact on the survivors — the elderly, orphans, widows without means of support — is so psychologically devastating. I read the whole book thinking about how Native Americans must have suffered as whole villages succumbed to European diseases. February 2009.