Study Guide

Year of Wonders Chapter 13

By Geraldine Brooks

Chapter 13

A Great Burning

  • Elinor has caught a cough. Oh, no…
  • Over the next three days, Elinor gets a fever. Anna spends most of her time with her friend, deeply shaken by the thought of losing the woman she's grown so close to.
  • Luckily, Elinor recovers the next day, which greatly relieves both Anna and Michael.
  • At the next service, Mompellion announces that they will have "a great burning" (2.13.39) of their belongings. He claims that this is for religious reasons.
  • The group is standing before the pyre when Brand and someone named Robert Snee approach, dragging a figure in a black veil. It's Aphra.
  • The group claims that Aphra is the one who's been posing as Anys' ghost and misleading the villagers with promises of magic. For real?
  • These folks want Mompellion to deal with Aphra now, but Mompellion tells them to hold on to her for the night. He'll take care of it tomorrow.
  • That night, Brand and Snee torture Aphra by locking her up in a chest-high pit of pig manure. By the next morning, Aphra has clearly gone insane.
  • Anna is concerned about Aphra's daughter, Faith. She tries to take the child away from her stepmother, but Aphra angrily refuses.
  • A few days later, Anna finds a now-bald Aphra dancing around her hut, chanting incantations and performing bizarre rituals. This is getting real.
  • Then, Anna sees the worst part: Aphra has killed Faith.
  • Anna gets Mompellion to come by, but Aphra has already barred her door.