Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

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Good Reads Description:

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.

Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓 1/2

Hamnet was just so readable and I can’t explain why. It was insanely good. I love historical fiction. I learned so much about the plague and about the life and career of William Shakespeare. Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t read or can’t remember Hamlet. It doesn’t matter. At the heart of it, this was a story of a family and their tragic loss. The story of Hamnet really captured the fragility of life and death in that era.

Fun Fact- I had to pass a Shakespeare exam in order to graduate from high school. “To be or not to be” is all that I remember from Hamlet. Shakespeare knowledge comes in handy while watching Jeopardy. 😉

Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓

This book is beautifully written and painfully sad. The story is very original, creative, and entertaining. It seems strange to say “entertaining” when the subject matter is so sad, but the story flows well, encourages the reader’s curiousity, and weaves an original and interesting tale. This is a story of grief (seemingly our focus for this particular blog) and how people who love each other deal with the loss of someone else they both love dearly – their only son. The parents mainly choose to deal with their grief separately, and you truly forget that the grieving parents are William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Not a giveaway, but I found the book’s ending very moving and rewarding This book has wonderful character development – you will truly feel for each of them, especially Angnes (Anne), and you will find yourself hoping for some happiness for all. I highly recommend Hamnet!

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