MLA Gold Award Site

Reader reviews and comments on The Hand that First Held Mine, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Hand that First Held Mine

A Novel

by Maggie O'Farrell

The Hand that First Held Mine
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2010, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Page 3 of 3
There are currently 19 reader reviews for The Hand that First Held Mine
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Joan P. (Owego, NY) (02/22/10)

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.
Marnie C. (Baltimore, MD) (02/22/10)

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.
Beth M. (Scarsdale, NY) (02/18/10)

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.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Lost Child
    by Caryl Phillips
    The Lost Child is a modern novel constructed within a historical frame, invoking one of the most ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket
    Bad Country
    by CB McKenzie
    If author CB McKenzie's decidedly noir debut novel Bad Country were chocolate, it would be at ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Charmers

The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler

"This tale of romantic suspense makes the perfect beach read."
—Library Journal

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

C To T Q

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.