Review 1746: The Hand That First Held Mine

Best of Ten!

It’s the mid-1950’s, and Lexie Sinclair has already made arrangements to leave her family home in Devon when she meets Innes Kent. He is a stylish magazine editor whose car has broken down on their road. When she tells him she is coming to London, he asks her to look him up. Instead, he looks her up.

Lexie takes up an exciting life as part of the Soho art scene. She and Innes are the loves of each other’s lives even though he is married. His wife has, however, taught her daughter Margo to hate Lexie even though she and Innes have been split up for years.

In present-day London, Elina and Ted have just had a baby. The birth was difficult, and Elina is having a hard time coping with the pressures of motherhood. At the same time, Ted, whose memory is notoriously poor, has begun having flashes of memory that do not correspond to what he understands of his life. Slowly, these two stories connect.

Maggie O’Farrell is always wonderful, I find, but this novel had me sobbing. It is beautiful and tragic as it explores the themes of motherhood and family secrets.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

After You’d Gone

Instructions for a Heat Wave

7 thoughts on “Review 1746: The Hand That First Held Mine

  1. thecontentreader November 2, 2021 / 7:23 am

    I loved this book and is a fan of Maggie O’Farrell every since. We are about to read Hamnet in one of my book clubs. Looking forward to it.

  2. Jane November 2, 2021 / 9:39 am

    I absolutely love this book but really need to read more by her.

    • whatmeread November 2, 2021 / 11:31 am

      I’ve found everything by her to be good, but this one is really good.

      • Jane November 2, 2021 / 11:51 am

        the only other one I’ve read is Esme Lennox which I didn’t enjoy quite as much, but I think of her very fondly, I think because The Hand That First Held Mine was the first of hers I’d read and I loved it so much!

      • whatmeread November 2, 2021 / 11:52 am

        Oh, I loved Esme Lennox.

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