Powerful Excerpts from “Year of Wonders” Geraldine Brooks

yearofwondersface“As I walked away from the croft, I caught my toe on a loose stone and stumbled, grazing the hand that  I flung out to break my fall.  My anger magnified this small hurt and I cursed.  As I sucked at the injured place, a question began to press upon me.  Why, I wondered, did we, all of us, bot the rector in his pulpit and simple Lottie in her croft, seek to put the Plague in unseen hands?  Why should this thing be either a test of faith sent by God, or the evil working of the Devil in the world?  One of these beliefs we embraced, the other we scorned as superstition.  But perhaps each was false, equally.  Perhaps the Plague was neither of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing in Nature, as the stone on which we stub a toe.……..If we balanced the time we spent contemplating God, and why He afflicted us, with more thought as to how the Plague spread and poisoned our blood, then we might come nearer to saving our lives.”

“Mary Daniel was a small, vigorous woman of about twenty, and her flesh felt firm and healthful under my hands.  It is, as I have said, one thing to reach inside a birthing ewe and quite another to invade the body of a living woman,  But I tried to quiet that part of my mind hammering away about modesty and violation.  I breathed deeply and thought instead how thankful I’d been for the touch of women’s hands in my own birthing room, and how important it had been to me then that Mem and Anys seemed so calm and certain of their own skill.”

“When I toss the little haik over her head, she pulls it expertly into places so that al I can see are her wide gray eyes.  She has her father’s eyes.


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