Friday, 21 January 2011

I've been reading Maggie O'Farrell's The Hand That First Held Mine, just finished it and it was a can't put it down sort of book. Difficult not to rush it, but worth a slower read as there is so much to absorb. I haven't for some reason read any of her other titles, but will be searching them out soon. The story has two areas of focus, Lexie and Elina, Lexie leaving home and eventually becoming a respected and successful journalist, Elina a generation later, already a fairly successful artist, becoming a mother at the start of the story. The difficult birth of Elina's son and its consequences for her , and how she gradually recovers are gently and subtly revealed. Slowly the link between these two women is revealed, along with complex family stories and relationships. With its themes of love, loss, identity, marriage and the importance of creativity in an individual's life, I found this a superb read. I found that Maggie O'Farrell captured the feeling of the 1950's and 60's very well when telling Lexie's early life and affair, a time of freedom and infinite possibilities. A wonderful rich read of a book.

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