An Irresistible Book Title on a Fascinating Subject

The Black Death or Bubonic Plague was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.  At its peak, it is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. The Bubonic Plague bacterium was spread by fleas which were carried by rats.  And one village in the north of England had a remarkably vicious attack of the plague but it didn’t spread.  Why not?

Read this week’s book review which is a book for young adults.  Monica and I read the book together last week and we were both totally enthralled and mesmerised by the story and by the style of writing.  Read Monica’s review:

A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh.  

Reviewed by Monica Walmsley

The first sentence in this book is enticing; “A parcel of patterns brought the plague to Eyam.”   This novel, based on a true story, tells of how Bubonic Plague breaks out in the small Derbyshire town of Eyam (pronounced ‘eem’) in the mid sixteen-sixties.

The people of Eyam, encouraged by their charismatic parson, decide to quarantine themselves from the surrounding villages in order to stop the plague spreading.  The story is told through the eyes of a sixteen year old girl as the plague invades her home town and carries away three quarters of the population, but sparing the surrounding countryside.

A Parcel of Patterns draws you in and captures your interest. The author, Jill Paton Walsh, manages to keep this interest alive throughout the book, telling the tale of perhaps one of the most heroic towns in Britain at that time.

The style of writing is unusual and challenging to read, but it adds atmosphere and emotion to the telling.  The story is a sad one that speaks of foreboding and a quiet terror.  The characters are strong and their courage is admirable.  And even though there is a sense of darkness that cannot be avoided when telling the story of the bravery of Eyam, the story will stay with you long after you have finished the book.

P.S. If you become fascinated and enthralled by this story, you are sure to be interested  in this video:


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