Study Guide

Year of Wonders Chapter 15

By Geraldine Brooks

Chapter 15

Part 3: Leaf-fall, 1666

Apple-picking Time

  • Note: we're now back where we started, time-wise.
  • Elinor is buried in the churchyard. Mr. Mompellion is so distraught that he doesn't even attend the service.
  • Mompellion becomes a recluse. Anna hears that he mocked religion in front of Mr. Stanley.
  • With the plague gone, the town is now open to the outside world, but everyone is just as depressed and weird as they were before.
  • That brings us back to where we started: the return of the Bradfords.
  • Anna notices that Anteros, Mompellion's horse, has not been ridden in a long time. She decides to do something unthinkable for a lady: ride the horse herself. It's a powerful, freeing experience. That is, until Mompellion sees her and flips his lid.
  • And then Mompellion kisses Anna. Bombshell. They're interrupted by a stable boy, and Anna hustles back to the rectory.
  • Mompellion follows, and to make a long story short, he and Anna make love multiple times.
  • Because she's totally awkward, Anna asks Mompellion if that made him think of making love to Elinor. Mompellion says something that surprises her—he and Elinor never had sex.
  • This was Mompellion's way of cleansing Elinor's "troubled soul" (3.15.75) of sin. He was punishing her. Mompellion cackles and suddenly becomes an ominous figure.
  • Anna runs out of the house and goes into the church. She finds Elizabeth Bradford there.
  • Elizabeth tells Anna that her mom has been in labor since yesterday and will likely die. Anna says that she will help.
  • The birthing room is covered in blood. To the Bradfords' surprise, Anna easily delivers the baby.
  • But there's still a problem—the kid is a "bastard" (3.15.113), in the literal meaning of the term. To her horror, Anna catches Elizabeth trying to kill the newborn baby.
  • Anna stops Elizabeth. She says that she will take the baby somewhere far from there if Elizabeth gives her enough money.
  • Elizabeth agrees. Anna grabs a few handfuls of gold coins and brings the baby home.
  • Mompellion shows up soon after. He apologizes for his actions before telling Anna to leave ASAP. The Bradfords are going to accuse her of stealing their money to cover up their tracks.
  • Mompellion suggests that Anna take Anteros and go to Elinor's family's home. They will surely help her.