Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

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Synopsis

Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself.

Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it. She creates many lives--all of them unconventional. And when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own.

Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place.

As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories-- these two women-- something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation.

Here Maggie O'Farrell brings us a spellbinding novel of two women connected across fifty years by art, love, betrayals, secrets, and motherhood. Like her acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, it is a "breathtaking, heart-breaking creation."* And it is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways we make and unmake our lives, who we know ourselves to be, and how even our most accidental legacies connect us.

*The Washington Post Book World

 

About Maggie O'Farrell

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Maggie O'Farrell is the author of After You'd Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; My Lover's Lover; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; and The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of a Costa Novel Award.












Author Residence: London












Author Hometown: Northern Ireland
 
Published April 12, 2010 by Mariner Books. 383 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hand That First Held Mine

The Guardian

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How to write while looking after a very young baby: get a sling.

Oct 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

NPR

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Maggie O'Farrell's novel The Hand That First Held Mine is split between two main characters: an art critic and reporter trying to make her way in the man's world of 1960s London and a contemporary artist who wants desperately to remember life before the traumatic birth of her first child.

Apr 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

New York Journal of Books

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Lexie Sinclair’s mundane life during the early 1950s is about to take off like a rocket.

Apr 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

Book Reporter

Although the story has a vintage flavor --- I imagine Lexie played by Vivian Leigh, with Trevor Howard or Dirk Bogarde as Innes, in one of those Brief Encounter-like films --- it simply feels authentic;

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

The Washington Times

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In "The Hand That First Held Mine," Maggie O'Farrell's subject is situation rather than character. The situations she writes about are the life-changing experience of becoming a mother and the effect of emotional trauma on memory.

Apr 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

The Washington Post

"The Hand That First Held Mine" evokes Shirley Hazzard's 1980 masterpiece, "The Transit of Venus," with a similar early warning that a character will die young and a sense that they are all on a collision course with fate.

May 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

The Telegraph

Just as Elina is emerging from .

May 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

Suite 101

While O'Farrell adroitly captures the dreamlike stupor of the sleep-deprived new parent, it is the bohemian glamour of Lexie's life in the art world of the 50s and 60s that really sparkles in this cleverly constructed, absorbing novel about motherhood, memory and identity.

| Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

The Bookbag

You can read more book reviews or buy The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google play and .

Mar 02 2013 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

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May 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Hand That First Held Mine

Reader Rating for Hand That First Held Mine
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 158 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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