Year of Wonders is exceptionally well written. It's compelling and keeps the reader's interest throughout.
I did enjoy Geraldine Brooks's writing style. Indeed, she went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for a subsequent novel, March.
However, I felt that she tried too hard to ensure that Anna Frith - and thus the reader - was present at every major incident. Nor was she merely there as a witness, which wouldn't have stretched the bounds of realism. She became the protagonist for every act of heroism, courage and significant happening during those fourteen months.
After a while, it seemed that no-one could die, give birth or live through any other life event, without Anna Frith in attendance. She became skilled in a host of activities seemingly overnight.
If her station in life and the realities of the age combined to keep her ignorant, then the action switched to her best friend and mentor, Eleanor Mompellion. Even then, Anna watched her once and became just as learned and competent.
As much as I hate to say it, it really was like Mary-Sue does plague. Especially since every man in the village fell in love with her; and her tragic past and youth were constantly emphasized.
I cringe even as I write this, because I honestly do think that Mary-Sue is too damaging a concept to usefully exist in literary criticism. But it's very blatant on this occasion.
I will, however, mitigate that by saying that Anna Frith is as well-written and acceptable as any such character can be. And she does serve her purpose. The reader is taken into the heart of Eyam's collective story; and emerges stunned as a result.
Despite all that I've said here, I still do recommend reading Year of Wonders. I have read it twice in my life; and I can see myself eventually reading it again. As a diverting novel, which explains the issues of that time and place, it's currently unparalleled.