O’Farrell is one of my favorite authors, in fact three of my all-time best are by her; The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Hamnet and the Marriage Portrait. So I was sure I would like this older novel of hers…her very first. Here is my book review The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell.
O’Farrell is a master at character development. In this novel she creates some interesting characters in two parallel storylines across a fifty year time period. Of course you know these stories will interject at some point, but even when they do you will be taken aback. It is a story of three strong-willed women and their connection.
Lexie – wants so much more than the provincial life laid out for her in the country home of her parents post WWII. She plots her escape thanks to the love of her life Innes. But Innes has his own secrets that will, after his death, haunt Lexie forever.
Margot – Innes daughter will do anything she can to ruin Lexie’s life. She is Lexie’s nemesis but as the story unfolds we realize that their connection will be greater than either could ever have imagined.
Elina – present day a new mother struggling with her near death experience giving birth to her son, tries to navigate motherhood, while dealing with her husband Ted’s memory issues. Ted refuses to admit he is ill, and Ted’s parents – especially his mother – is secretive and aloof. What memories is she trying to suppress from Ted?
The revelations will come to light in a painful way, but Elina will be the hero as she helps her husband grasp his new reality, recover from the shock and repair the fractured family through her never-ending love.
The Hand That a First Held Mine
Not her best work but a superb story nonetheless, in true O’Farrell fashion. I enjoyed the plot and the outcome. Thanks for reading my book review The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell.
****Four stars for The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell.
See last week’s book review The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
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