Maggie O’Farrell won the 2010 Costa Book Award for her book, The Hand That First Held Mine. Born in Northern Ireland, O’Farrell has written several numbers, among them The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox which is reviewed elsewhere on this website.
The Hand that First Held Mine tells the story of two couples. In the first story, set in the past, Lexie Sinclair runs away from home to London in the 1950s where she sets up home with magazine editor/publisher Innes Kent. Their’s is a beautiful and happy love story, for a time.
In the second story which is set in the present, Elina has just given birth and is learning to cope with her new baby. Her partner, Ted, finds the new baby stirs up memories of his own childhood that are disturbing because they don’t entirely fit with his present circumstances.
The two stories are interlinked and although the reader guesses that from the outset, it takes quite a while to learn exactly where the links are.
The Hand that First Held Mine is very well written and will have you turning the pages. If you haven’t read Maggie O’Farrell before, do give her a try. I don’t think that you will be disappointed.