All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls

Isabel lives in an idyllic village near York. She has a happy family, good friends and land to farm. It’s not perfect because her family are not free: they belong Sir Edward, but she is content. However, life is about to change. It is 1349 and the Black Death is sweeping through Europe, and then the UK, until it reaches Isabel’s village. Who will survive? And for those who survive, will life ever be the same again?

Isabel’s story is fascinating. Most history lessons teach about the Black Death in cities but here the effect of the Black Death on a village, on a family, on friends and on the make-up of society is beautifully detailed. Isabel is so likeable that even as you know the outcome cannot be a happy one, you so wish for the Black Death to stop, to pass by Isabel and her loved ones. I enjoyed the book and I learnt a lot from it, not just about the Black Death but about life at that time. Afterwards I kept thinking about the story and wanted to learn more and fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

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