Monday, November 20, 2006


This is the opening sentence of Jill Paton Walsh's 1984 award-winning title,
A PARCEL OF PATTERNS, a book which made a huge impact on me when I first read it over 20 years ago.
In fact it affected me so strongly that a couple of years later, while in London on business,I took three days off and travelled up to Eyam in Derbyshire to visit the quiet village and all the now historic places that featured in the story of the plague reaching there in 1665 and the extraordinary measures the villagers took to prevent it spreading further - the tailor's house,the Plague cottages in Church Street, Mompesson's Well, the Riley graves and of course the Parish Church where all the 260 victims are listed and honoured.
To this day I remember my visit and all that I saw most vividly and recall how moved I was by the tragic events that took there 341 years ago.

Jill Paton Walsh's stunning children's book, and my visit to Eyam, all came to mind because a friend loaned Annie a copy ofYEAR OF WONDERS by Geraldine Brooks (Harper Perennial) on Saturday evening and she spent much of Sunday reading it. It too is set in Eyam in the Spring of 1666.
I know nothing about Geraldine Brooks except that she is a former war journalist and has a number of non-fiction titles to her credit.

If Eyam and/or the Great Plague,as it was known,interest you then here are a couple of novels that may satisfy your appetite.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me about A Parcel of Patterns. I read it years ago while at Intermediate School and can still recall it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember it too, wonderful book.

Beattie's Book Blog said...

If anonymous and anon 2 , and anyone else for that matter, would like to read more about Jill Paton Walsh or check out her more recently published titles then go to her excellent website:

Anonymous said...