Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

review by Maryom

Lexie has been sent down from University and idling her time away at home in Cornwall when a chance meeting with sophisticated Londoner Innes Kent opens a whole new world for her. Following him, she moves to London and a journalistic career in the 1950s Soho art scene.
In the present day, Elina is physically and emotionally wrecked, trying to come to terms with the world after the birth of her first child. Her boyfriend Ted finds fatherhood brings back a flood of memories that don't seem to tie in with what he knows of his childhood. His search leads him to unexpected places and events which link Lexie and Elina.

My first thought was Wow Why haven't I read this sooner? Since winning the Costa prize back in 2010 and all the great things I'd heard about it, it had sort of been on my radar as something I should read sometime but was just one of books I'd never got round to. Reading O'Farrell's latest novel, Instructions for a Heatwave, gave me the little push I needed to visit the library and borrow this at last. Now I'm annoyed that I hadn't read it before.
O'Farrell's appeal lies in the way she seemingly effortlessly gets into her characters, finds out what makes them tick, how they live, sleep and breathe. The way she captures the upheaval caused by the birth of a child is astounding - that feeling that the world now revolves around the baby and everything else falls by the wayside. That isn't to say that the other plot line is slight by comparison - both carry the same weight and impact. They move round each other and compelled me to read, read, read to find out how and when they would meet - and when they did, the realisation of what had happened hit me like a bomb shell!
An excellent book and if like me you've just not got round to reading it, do it now!

Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher -
Genre - adult fiction

Buy The Hand That First Held Mine from Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree, this is a marvellous writer. The Hand that First Held Mine blew me away: so poised, so contained in the slow release of its secrets. And as the daughter of an Irish mother I truly appreciated the generous but clear-eyed portrait in Instructions for a Heatwave.