"A parcel of patterns brought the plague to Eyam. A parcel sent up from London to George Vicars, a journeyman tailor, who was lodging with Mrs. Cooper in a cottage by the west end of the churchyard.
So begins Mall Percival's account of how her village of Eyam struggled against the plague. George Vicars dies on September 6, 1665, and by the end of October, twenty-five more townsfolk have been buried. As the deaths continue, the villagers, including Mall, begin to panichelpless to fight off the disease. Uncertain as to how it is contracted and passed from one person to another, Mall forces herself to make a sacrifice that radically changes her lifeshe decides to stops seeing Thomas Torre, a man from another village, the man she hopes to marry. In June of 1966, at their minister's urging, the entire village makes a pact to protect those who live in the surrounding countryside by staying within the boundaries of Eyam.
Although Mall longs to see Thomas, she remains steadfast in her resolution, until one day Thomas runs into the center of Eyam, knowing that he will not be allowed to leave, yet fearing that Mall has died. Mall and Thomas marry, but their happiness is short-lived. Finally, in October of 1666, the pestilence subsides. Mall, overwhelmed by grief and sorrow, decides to write a chronicle of all she has witnessed in Eyam, hoping that it will set her free.
About the Author
Jill Paton Walsh is the author of books for adults, young adults and children. Her novel Knowledge of Angels was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Her crime novels and mystery novels include The Attenbury Emeralds, A Presumption of Death, The Wyndham Case and A Piece of Justice, which was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. With Dorothy L. Sayers, she was co-author of Thrones, Dominations. Her novels for children and young adults include The Green Book. She lives in Cambridge, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an easy to read, simple little story about the Plague in medieval Europe. A parcel from a plague-infected town is shipped into another country village, carrying the Bubonic Plague with it. In this way everyone who comes in contact with the package gradually becomes ill.This is a good book; I really liked it. It has a good story and strong, likable characters. It has a very quiet, dignified strength.
Despite the shortness of this book, I felt myself completely satisfied with the depth of the story. It is a tragic tale, but acknowledges that life must always go on. The characters feel real and deal with their difficult decisions in ways that seem utterly human.