Anna Frith is the story’s narrator and it is through her firsthand account that we experience how the arrival of the plague and subsequent quarantine impact the village’s townspeople. When the story opens in 1665, Anna is a widow of 18 with two young sons. She is a timid, provincial girl with little knowledge of the world outside her tiny rural village. Anna’s life changes dramatically when the plague strikes the village. As Anna grapples with the devastation brought about by the disease and the quarantine, we witness her transformation from a timid housekeeper to a strong young woman who has persevered in the face of extremely challenging circumstances.
Michael Mompellion is the local rector in the village of Eyam. He rides around on a stallion called Anteros. He is very charismatic and a leader through crisis. He is married to Elinor, whose family put him through education. He is very passionate and committed to helping the village through tough times. When the plague strikes Eyam he acts strong and calm trying to do his best to help everyone. He quarantines the whole village to help stopping it from spreading. He steps in to save Mem and Anys Gowdie who were targeted by a gang showing that he is willing to put his body on the line for others. The work load gets tough and he resigns from being the rector. Elinor is murdered by Aphra Bont and Mompellion is looking for support. Anna cares and helps Mompellion and they have an affair in which Mompellion tells Anna the story behind their marriage and Anna doesn’t like what she hears so she leaves him.
Elinor Mompellion is a quiet and intelligent person. She is very forgiving and reluctant to judge others as she has experienced many different things in her past. She is married to Michael Mompellion. Elinor offers to help people out when people start passing away from the plague and Anna helps her. Elinor acts as a mentor towards Anna recognising her potential and encouraging her learning. When Elinor was younger she believed she ‘sinned’, by being seduced at 14 by an older man. Elinor is unable to have children and she has great attributes to be mother. Aphra Bont murders Elinor.
Anys is Mem Gowdie’s niece and is similar age to Anna. She is a skilled healer and midwife. Both her parents died when she was young so she lives with her aunty Mem. Anys and Mem provide the village of Eyam with herbs and plants to give health benefits. She believes in freedom rather than marriage and had a brief affair with George. The villagers accuse Anys of being a witch and a mob kills her.
Mem is Anys’ aunty and has looked after and been her guardian since she was little. Mem does herbal treatments and believes in herbs and plants, which she teaches Anys. Mem is also suspected of being a witch and targeted by a mob and is hung.
Aphra is Anna’s stepmother who married her father Josiah. She has 2 sons and 1 daughter who all die from the plague. After her