The Village by Eleanor Watkins, a full-time writer who lives near Hay-on-Wye. The setting for this book is a fictionalised version of Clyro, a village one mile from Hay.
Introduced by Philip Davies
I love this book. Please don’t be put off by the subject matter (the Black Death) because this is a moving tale of strength and hope amidst the tragedy. And yes, it has to be a tragedy, because it wouldn’t be called The Black Death if no one died from it, would it?
My first question is often: can I relate to the protagonist? And Ellen is great (because I feel it’s more her story than William’s or Sam’s). I hesitate to over-use the term “feisty”, but Ellen is certainly that, and deeply caring too.
I enjoy medieval history, and so the social setting is familiar to me, with a lord of the manor, serfs, etc., and the author makes great use of period detail. But just as striking is her description of the natural world around the village of Clearway, a countryside that is obviously close to her heart.
The hope in the story comes not just from a faith growing through adversity, but also from the wisdom that even tragedies such as a plague can be catalysts for change, in individuals and communities, as life moves on from one generation to the next.
I don’t give five star ratings lightly, and I rarely read books for a second time, but this story deserves both.