April 22, 2014

Spanish Flu epidemic

Yesterday's Dead
by Pat Bourke

Thirteen-year-old Meredith Hollings must leave her small town to work as a servant in a doctor's home in Toronto. Helping with the cooking, serving the meals, and minding the doctor's youngest son is hard work, made harder by the butler's condescending attitude. Maggie, the doctor's spoiled, ill-tempered daughter, makes things difficult as well. Then the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic hits. One by one, the members of the household fall ill, and the doctor must spend all his time at the hospital. Soon, only Meredith and Maggie are left to care for the others.

As the story progresses, the sense of dread increases. You know that one or more of the characters is going to die, but you don't know which one. A fortuitous ending provides relief before the final, happier chapter. An historical note about the Spanish Flu follows, which is helpful in putting the events of the novel into context.

A compelling, realistic survival story that many readers will find hard to put down.

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