Thursday, October 11, 2012


by John Smolens

I enjoy historical fiction so when this book became available on NetGalley, I requested a copy.  The setting is 1796 - just a short time after the Revolutionary War - a time period I haven't read much about.  A trading ship owned by a wealthy, lecherous townsman arrives in Newburyport, Massachusetts caring a plague.  The people are ordered to stay on board and the yellow flag is raised  warning of quarantine.

Some men sneak off the ship and come into town, spreading the disease.  Soon tents are set up and townspeople are taken to the tents where most will die.  It was interesting to hear about the medical practices of the day.  I squirmed thinking about the bleeding of patients and laying hot bricks on their upper body.  I wonder if, years from now, we will look back on our highly esteemed medical practices with the same feelings of squeamishness.

There's more to the story than just the quarantine.  There's the element of crooked dealings at other's peril in the wake of war and disease and there's the story of lost love, an orphaned boy, and a family with some quirky problems to face.

 ** I received a  copy of Quarantine  from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. 

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