Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Parcel of Patterns, by Jill Paton Walsh, 1983

Mall Percival is a child of Eyam, a small village in Derbyshire, now grown to adulthood in 1665 and set to marry Thomas, a shepherd and her childhood sweetheart. An errant package of dressmaking patterns sent from London to Eyam infects the village tailor with the plague, launching a year of terror in which the town is almost decimated by disease, and places itself under town-wide quarantine. Based upon a true history of the actual village of Eyam, though using fictional main characters, this is a heartbreaking and lovely book, written as Mall’s diary account of Eyam’s sorrows. Recommended for historical fiction fans.

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