Paperback: 374 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Headline 2010
Source: British Red Cross Charity Shop, Tywyn.
First Sentences:Listen. The trees in this story are stirring, trembling, readjusting themselves. A breeze is coming in gusts off the sea and it is almost as if the trees know, in their restlessness, in their head-tossing impatience, that something is about to happen.
Review Quote:'Genuinely unputdownable...evidence of her place as one of Britain's most engaging contemporary novelists' ( Literary Review )
Award: Winner of the 2010 Costa Novel Award.
My Opinion: Met and exceeded my expectations.
Every time I finish the latest Maggie O'Farrell, I find I have enjoyed it even more than the previous novel and this was no exception. Even from the very first sentences she is writing such enjoyable and descriptive prose which continues throughout the novel making it a delightful read. Back in 2009 when I wrote a review for The Distance Between Us I mentioned that for me her novels are easy reading but nothing spectacular. Actually since then I have found that her writing has grown on me, I am certainly enjoying her novels more every time, as shown in my review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox in 2011. An author whose writing style seems to have just kept getting better. This one certainly met and exceeded my expectations and I am already looking forward to reading her latest novel, 'Instructions for a Heatwave'.
A dual time period narrative with two exceptionally strong female protagonists which is cleverly woven together to give us an intense storyline that flows seamlessly from fifties London to modern day London. As the novel progresses you will find yourself drawn deeper into the lives of these two women and wonder how the stories are eventually going to connect as we already know they will from reading the books blurb. Lexie Sinclair the passionate and clever young women that escapes rural Devon for the Bohemian scene of Soho in the fifties is wonderfully portrayed. Fifty years later in contemporary London you meet Elina, struggling with a change of life style thanks to the arrival of a baby. Love and life, what complications they cause us.
Highly recommended to anyone that appreciates well written prose and cleverly woven story.
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1972, and grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in Edinburgh with her family. An author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones' 25 Authors for the Future. To date she has had six novels published and it is possible to identify several common themes in them. The relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Maggie O'Farrell - Official WebsiteGoodreads Profile - Maggie O'FarrellMaggie O'Farrell - Facebook Page
YouTube Video - The Hand That First Held Mine