Quarantine by John Smolens


Genre:  Historical Fiction
Subject: Epidemic
Setting:  Newburyport ,Mass
Main Characters:  Leander Hatch, Gilles Wiggins, Enoch Sumner, Miranda Sumner
Series:  no
Dates Read:  October 5 - October 12
Number of pages: 384
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?:  yes, NetGalley
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Speech Class, Lunch

So often as a reader, we are presented in historical fiction unspecified details of how life was at the time.  However, in this book set in Early American historical times (1796), we have exactly the opposite.  The reader is awarded a tale of the decimating conditions that surround the small harbor town of Newburyport, MA when a ship arrives carrying an epidemic which swiftly spreads to the population when those quarantined on board the ship escape.

The story is told through the experiences of two main  characters - Dr. Gilles Wiggins, the town physician who initiates the quarantine, and Leander Hatch, a young man who looses his entire family to the "fever".  These two characters, so different in their backgrounds and yet so alike in their principles, show how  good people can overcome any adversity presented to them.

This was a powerful story which had a few slow spots in the narration but the characters and the ordeal carried it through.

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