Book Review – Hamnet by Maggie O”Farrell

Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

Published March 2020 by Tinder Press

It’s taken me a few days to compose my review of this stunning book and even now I’m certain I won’t be able to do it justice. This book is STUNNING

Telling the fictional story of the little known wife of Shakespeare, Agnes (Anne) Hathaway, it gives voice to the voiceless from a time where women were erased from history books in favour of men

I adored Agnes – ethereal, wise, spiritual and courageous. Her spirit shone though the pages as vividly as the rich and evocative descriptions of sixteenth century England. It’s harrowing at times, with themes of loss and grief and a coincidental parallel to the difficulties we currently face today. But it’s also inspiring and I adored every moment

My knowledge of Shakespeare is hazy at best, so if that’s you too don’t be put off. O’Farrell chooses not even to name him, making this uniquely Agnes’s story. Fans of The Familiars, The Doll Factory and The Binding are sure to find their next historical fiction fix here and love Hamnet as much as I did. It really is historical fiction at it’s very best

Thanks to the wonderful @tandemcollectiveuk for inviting me to be part of the fantastic #Hamnetreadalong

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