Study Guide

Year of Wonders Chapter 2

By Geraldine Brooks

Chapter 2

Part 2: Spring, 1665

Ring of Roses

  • Note the date—we've gone back in time over a year. Who knew flux capacitors were around in the 17th century?
  • This past winter was hard for Anna, as it was the first one she's had to deal with since Sam died.
  • In the spring, a man named George Viccars arrives asking for temporary lodging. He's a tailor and a really nice guy to boot.
  • Anna has two sons, and her older son, Jamie, loves Viccars. Whenever she comes home, she finds them horsing around.
  • Anna likes spending time with Viccars, too. At night, she sits enraptured as he talks about his journeys across England and his adventures in London.
  • Once they get to know each other better, Viccars tells Anna "tales of bawdiness and carousing" from the city (2.2.14). In other words, he tells her sex and party stories.
  • One night, Anna returns home to discover a fancy green dress in her room. Mr. Viccars made it for her. Subtle move.
  • Anne tries to refuse the gift, but Viccars demands that she try it on. So she does. And then they kiss. Kapow.
  • Anna stops—Viccars seems to have a fever. Viccars admits that he is feeling ill, so Anna sends him to his room (mom move) and tells him that they'll finish this conversation the next day.
  • Anna arrives at the rectory the next morning and greets Elinor Mompellion as Elinor works in her garden. She's the wife of the preacher man.
  • Elinor is 25 years old and pretty as all get-out. She's also taught Anna how to read and write, among countless other things. Commoners like Anna aren't supposed to know that stuff.
  • Elinor wants to teach Anna about medicinal herbs, but our girl doesn't want any of that: that's how you get branded as a witch. At least, that's what happened to Mem Gowdie and her niece Anys, both local medicine women. Luckily, the charges didn't stick.
  • The house is quiet when Anna returns home. Dead quiet. Anna heads upstairs and finds Viccars with "a lump the size of a newborn piglet" on the side of his head (2.2.61).
  • Whoa. That escalated quickly.
  • Anna tries to help Viccars, but she accidentally explodes the growth, sending puss all over the room. That would be funny if it wasn't so gross.
  • Viccars is dead by the next morning.