You should be warned ahead of time- this book is gory. Yet the graphic parts are necessary to a novel about the plague. The details never get overbearing, but if you are the type of person who gets squeamish at the puss and skin abrasions, then you might want to pass on this one.
The main character is Anna Frith, a young maid who seems to be at the center of the village. It is her who takes care of the ill throughout, but she also has ties to the leaders of the village, and therefore makes a great observer to the events in the story. Brooks made Anna a very powerful woman, and did so without being cliché at all. There is no man in Anna’s life that she towers over. Instead, she deals with loved ones all around her falling victim to the plague, yet she stays strong and continues to do what is needed to survive, while others give in to sadness and grief. When the village makes the decision to quarantine themselves, she follows along and believes in the new duties she takes on for the greater good.
Quarantining an entire village does not seem like something that would soon happen in today’s day and age, yet Brooks writes as if she were there back in 1666 alongside the other villagers. She writes with beautiful, flowing sentences. There is significantly more description than dialogue, yet you will find yourself reading every single word for the magic of their impact alone.