Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague

Historical Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague

What a brilliant book, beautifully and sensitively written.

What a brilliant book, beautifully and sensitively written. Oddly I was about a third of the way in before I remembered that Eyam was a real village and the happenings, although fictionalised, were also true, which gave the story so much more depth. Although the book was set in the 17th century, the characters of the three women, Catherine, Elizabeth and Emmett, seem somehow quite modern. It could be that the plague and our current pandemic make the story line that much more poignant, but I think it is more that the writer is able to write about emotion, grief and hope with such conviction. When reading historical fiction, so much is said about infant mortality that you tend to gloss over it as the norm, but the way it is written about in this book, is so contemporary and real. How the mother watches over her children as they sleep and how each one is so precious, is not an emotion that changes with the centuries. The links to our present situation runs through the whole book, with phrases such as 'every day seemed to have no bounds and flowed in endless sameness' and 'the invisible threat' being particularly memorable. Also the way William carefully records the deaths each month reminds me of radio news reports! The book develops so well in both characterisation but also in plot - how the village isolates itself, but also how it learns from the deaths and ways to cope with the disease and the solitary existence forced upon the village. It was definitely a memorable and thought provoking read. It made me appreciate how much people gave up for the safety of others. I shall be buying a hard copy of this to keep. 

Rosie Watch, A LoveReading Ambassador

LoveReading Ambassador

Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague Synopsis

In 1665 a box from London brought more than cloth from plague-ridden London to the quiet village of Eyam in Derbyshire. For the next year the villagers had to learn to live with a silent enemy. 'Three' tells the story of three very different women in their courageous attempts to keep themselves and their loved ones alive as Eyam closed its doors to the outside world, instead facing the malevolent danger alone. Emmott Syddall, Catherine Mompesson and Elizabeth Hancock were each determined to live and the courage each of them found was as unique as the women themselves. Will 1666 bring salvation? This work of historical fiction, written during a pandemic whilst reflecting on another, fuses creative imagining with historical fact to bring three female protagonists to life...

About This Edition

ISBN: 9798748183246
Publication date: 5th May 2021
Author:
Publisher: Independently published
Format: Paperback
Primary Genre Historical Fiction
Recommendations:

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Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

I am particularly pleased to review this book. It tells of three women and individual responses to the plague’s devastation where contact with infected people leads inevitably to death.

I am particularly pleased to review this book. A work of fiction, it is based on facts surrounding the village of Eyam in Derbyshire which took the decision to quarantine itself during the plague of 1665. It tells of three women and individual responses to the plague’s devastation where contact with infected people leads inevitably to death. The book is both powerful and disturbing, particularly as we are currently living through a pandemic. The three female protagonists, Emmott, Catherine and Elizabeth have different problems to tackle, but ultimately work towards the same outcome – to protect their loved ones. The book is filled with historical detail which only helps to place the reader deep in the heartbreak that ensues. Reading this novel during a pandemic is both disturbing and totally recognisable and almost becomes a modern tale of social distancing and distrust of strangers. I wonder if my response to the read might have been different had I read this novel say two years ago? This novel is not an enjoyable read in the sense of the ‘happy ever after,’ but I can highly recommend it’s telling of a piece of history that we would all do well to remember. I have visited Eyam and the end of my visit left me with the same feelings as this book – a thankfulness that we have the knowledge to fight for the right to survive. 

Lynn Johnson

In 'Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague', Jennifer Jenkins has taken real historical characters and woven a work of creative fiction around their lives and, in some cases, deaths, that is well researched, authentic and completely and grippingly readable.

I first heard of the small Derbyshire village of Eyam in November 2020, when it's story formed part of a Channel 5 documentary, providing, as it does, unparalleled data about the transmission of a devastating disease, so relevant in today's world. In 'Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague', Jennifer Jenkins has taken real historical characters and woven a work of creative fiction around their lives and, in some cases, deaths, that is well researched, authentic and completely and grippingly readable. The Great Plague escaped London in a consignment of flea-ridden second hand clothing, delivered to one George Viccars, journeyman and assistant to Eyam's tailor. Falling sick on September 6th 1665, he died the very next day. We then follow the fortunes of three women of the village; Emmott Syddall, a young woman living with her parents and five siblings, betrothed to Rowland Torre from a neighbouring village, Elizabeth Hancock, the blacksmith's wife and mother to seven children and Catherine Mompesson, the wife of the Rector with two children. Through their eyes, we witness the cohesion and strength of the entire village population of around 700, the hopes and fears that lead to their brave decision to lock themselves away in a heroic act of self sacrifice, to stop the spread of the disease. Around 260 people died in 14 months, roughly 36% of all the inhabitants, but their self imposed quarantine undoubtedly saved the lives of thousands of others. Although the author has, of course, fictionalised the dialogue and some of the events, this book portrays real women, who did whatever they saw as necessary for their friends and families, with love and courage in the face of extremely challenging circumstances, whatever the personal cost. Their unfalteringly compassionate and altruistic response to the situation they found themselves having to contend with should be an inspiration to us all. 

Drena Irish

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9798748183246
Publication date: 05/05/2021
Format: Paperback

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