> Skip to content
  • Published: 5 July 2022
  • ISBN: 9781784877385
  • Imprint: Vintage Children's Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $19.99

A Parcel of Patterns



The gripping story of a historical lockdown, through the eyes of a brave 16-year-old girl.

A PLAGUE - A VILLAGE - A LOCKDOWN
1665, Eyam, Derbyshire.
'Here I have set down all that I know of the Plague'
It is 1665 and Mall Percival is a shepherd girl living in a Derbyshire village. She tends her flock, spends time with her best friend and teaches her young suitor to read. But one day a parcel of patterns, meant for a new dress for the pastor's wife, wings its way from London.

The parcel carries an infection that spreads with horrifying speed. Herbal teas and open windows are the only defence against the sickness. Yet the villagers make a brave and selfless decision: to isolate themselves from the rest of the country. It is a lockdown that saves the neighbouring towns, but at heart-breaking cost to Mall's world.

Based on the true events of the village of Eyam, this is the story of a courageous sacrifice that saved Derbyshire and beyond from a deadly virus.

*SHORTLISTED FOR THE WHITBREAD PRIZE*

'A pocket masterpiece' Guardian
Readers love A Parcel of Patterns

'I couldn't put it down'

'Brought me to tears too many times to count'

'If you think social distancing is hard in the Coronavirus pandemic, read this wonderful novel based on the true story of the village of Eyam'

  • Published: 5 July 2022
  • ISBN: 9781784877385
  • Imprint: Vintage Children's Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Jill Paton Walsh

Jill Paton Walsh was educated at St Michael's Convent, North Finchley, and at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is the author of several highly praised adult novels: Lapsing, A School For Lovers, Knowledge of Angels, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize, Goldengrove Unleaving, The Serpentine Cave and A Desert in Bohemia. She has also won many awards for her children's literature, including the Whitbread Prize, the Universe Prize and the Smarties Award. She has three children and lives in Cambridge.

Also by Jill Paton Walsh

See all

Praise for A Parcel of Patterns

A pocket masterpiece

Guardian

A masterly tale

Lucy Mangan

A beautifully written, meaningful story

Publishers Weekly

[Jill Paton Walsh] had an unpatronising literary style and was ambitious about what children would enjoy

Guardian

If ever there was a book to make us thankful to live in modern times, have scientific cures and the NHS, this is it. Jill Paton Walsh catches the voices of long ago, in the unbroken narrative of one likeable girl: 'author' of the story. Punctuated by exquisite glimpses of Nature, beautiful and raw, and of joyous first love, the account lays bare the horror of a remorseless epidemic. Even knowing the historical facts, we go on hoping, crossing our fingers, holding our breath. The archaic language, jolting at first, feels familiar by the end and adds to the authenticity of the heroine's account. The message to the reader - if indeed there is one - feels important: be grateful for small mercies...and glad to be alive

Geraldine McCaughrean

Related titles