A book I couldn't put down
From the opening page I was hooked. Written in beautiful, creative prose, this story is about two strong women struggling with motherhood (in all it's glories and difficulties), identity, love and family. These are women you really care about. You want to know how their lives unfold and how their lives are connected. I loved the twists, surprising revelations and resolutions. Nothing disappointed me and as so rarely happens, the ending was complete and satisfying. I didn't want to stop reading it and I didn't want it to end.
Rated of 5
by Joan P. (Owego, NY)
The Hand That First Held Mine
This is one of the most engaging books that I have read in a long time. It weaves together two stories. One is from the past and one is in the present. The first tells of a country girl that leaves home to make her life in London. We follow her through love, motherhood and death. The other thread starts at the birth of a child and tells of the trials of parenthood. As you read there are clues that hint at the relationship between the two stories and the conclusion ties the tales together. I am going to recommend this book to my book club.
Rated of 5
by Marnie C. (Baltimore, MD)
The Hand That First Held MIne
The tempestuous nature of memory, coupled with the joys and terrors of motherhood, animates this sharp-edged novel that deserves comparison with the fine yet often marginalized British female writers of the early- to late-twentieth century. Virago Books, a publisher of women's writings, has resurrected many of these authors, such as Nina Bawden, Molly Keane, and Daphne Du Maurier; while Maggie O'Farrell's dry wit and keen observations owe a debt to these predecessors, she connects the past (London in the 1950s, '60, and '70s) to the present in startling and evocative ways. After describing the bustling office of a Soho art magazine so vividly that we can almost hear the typewriters clicking, O'Farrell then shows us what the office has become in the new millennium: a café, quiet in the early morning, where the staff have forgotten to pick up a piece of foccaccia under the table. Objects and memories recur in different times and places, in the homes and heads of characters who are often connected in ways that they are not yet aware of, a technique which grants a kind of fossilized texture to the intertwining narratives. At one key point in the book, a man picks up an ammonite, the shell of an ancient mollusk, and marvels at its weight in comparison with the dress pocket he has pulled it from; at another, a young mother stumbles upon a valuable painting hidden behind a dressing table. These imaginistic clues ultimately help unlock a decades-old mystery, one as devastating as it is intriguing, and perfectly suit a book devoted to exploring the lives of artists and writers.
Rated of 5
by Erica L. (Plaistow, New Hampshire)
Hooked From The Start
This book had me hooked right from the first page. The characters were well developed and I couldn't wait to find out what their stories were. Maggie O'Farrell is a great story writer that lulls the reader in and then gives them something totally unexpected. A book about two women whose stories unfold to a dramatic end. Book Clubs will enjoy delving into the different relationships and situations that occur in this book. A great read!
Rated of 5
by Rebecca C. (Opelika, AL)
Another incredible read!
I was very happy to receive an ARC of this book since I had just finished reading O’Farrell’s first book. The mood of this book starts out dreamy and slow and almost made me feel drugged and slow as I met the two couples, one in the past and one in the future. I knew that they are somehow connected but had no idea how. The book slowly drew me in and started moving faster until the action was at breakneck speed. And at the end, I immediately wanted to start again to find all the hints that I missed, all the connections that were so skillfully hidden. Maggie O’Farrell once again has merged past and present with her uncommon skills of pacing and movement.
Rated of 5
by Susan R. (Julian, NC)
The Hand that First Held Mine
I thought that the book started slowly and I had a hard time getting involved in the characters. After about 50 pages, I started to really enjoy it. Once I got to that point, the characters became very real to me and I enjoyed getting to know them. I laughed and I cried while reading this book. The part of the story when Lexie knows that she is leaving her son forever and how much she fights to stay brought tears to my eyes. Overall I would say that this is one my top five books read in 2010 and I will highly recommend it to others. I am going to go back and read other books by this author.
Rated of 5
by Jean T. (Paducah, KY)
Love at First Sight
I was deeply intrigued with the first paragraph -- rereading it more than once just to be sure -- and by the end of the first page I was totally smitten with this book. At first I found the interweaving of Lexie’s and Elina’s stories a bit jarring and disjointed, but then I settled into the author’s rhythm and enjoyed the episodic intertwining. In the midst I always took the time to step back to appreciate her incredible, poetic descriptive prose. I am not a mother myself and it’s no longer a possibility for me, yet the author’s description of a new mother’s fears, confusion, fatigue, and yet fiercely intense bonding with her baby seemed so very authentic to me in a way that I have never before seen presented. By the end of the book I didn’t want it to end, but the ending was so very perfect I felt at peace. The author did an incredibly masterful job in weaving all the threads of the two women’s stories together into a cohesive, beautiful multicolored tapestry. I continued to ponder the book after I finished, making the connections that were not apparent except in hindsight. I consider this one of the finest books I’ve read in a long time and think it will make an excellent selection for book clubs.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...