For my fifth Dewey's Book, I read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.
The book is set in 16th century England where a small town has been infected by the plague. Rather than fleeing and spreading the disease, the inhabitants of the town take an oath to quarantine themselves. The story is told from the perspective of Anna, a young woman who has lost her husband and children. As both she and her fellow townspeople experience fear and superstition and death, Anna grows from unsure and uneducated to a competent, confident woman.
"There’s a lot of intricacy in the interactions between people, the moral dilemmas, and the situations they encounter. It’s not straightforward at all, but a twisty path through the woods kind of book."
Although it was otherwise a wonderful book--and still one worth reading--I disagree with Dewey a bit about the ending. She said:
"The ending was so unexpected, actually surprising, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the book by any means."
Unexpected is a bit of an understatement--more like, complete cop-out. It was like Brooks decided she was done writing and had to tie up the loose ends as quickly as possible in a whirl of sex and drama. It was sad, because the story was so good otherwise--great characters, interesting questions and issues to be resolved. There were just so many more honest ways she could have chosen to wrap the story up.
As I said, it's still a good book, and I would recommend it. Just...stop about thirty pages from the end and invent your own ending or something!