2020 · Blog Tour · Book review

Book Review: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell @PublicityBooks @headlinepg @annecater #Hamnet

I am hugely honoured to be sharing my review for Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell today as part of the blog tour. Huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and the publishers for the opportunity.

About the book

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?
Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.
Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.
Hamnet is available to purchase now – Amazon

My thoughts

Everyone’s heard of William Shakespeare, one of the most successful poet and playwrights there has ever been but in Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell gives us an idea of what his wife and family may have been like.

A young man is sent to tutor some young boys Latin to help pay off a debt his father owes, while he is tutoring one day a young lady walks past the window with a hawk on her arm. He’s intrigued and later finds out the lady is called Agnes, she is older than him and the daughter of the man his father owes the debt to.

There’s a spark between the pair and eventually romance but it is frowned upon, Agnes’s step mother will not give permission for them to marry but they find a way and soon a daughter is born and later twins, Judith and Hamnet.

The story actually begins though with Judith taking ill and Hamnet desperately trying to find a grown up to help, we get left wondering often what will happen next, will Judith be ok as the author takes us back to when their parents met, the marriage, births and so on and I found this to be torture as I needed to know what would happen to Judith but I also loved finding out more about Agnes.

Agnes was a wonderful character with her bird and ointments and bees. She had a special way of knowing things that couldn’t be explained and many feared this but it didn’t deter her in the slightest. She seemed to embrace it. I found I took Agnes to my heart and I grew really fond of her. The love she had for her children and the way she let her husband go to London because it would make him happy even though she was left behind with the children made her even more special.

It’s difficult to describe just how wonderful Hamnet is, I knew I would enjoy this story but I didn’t realise I would actually love it. It drew me in at the very first page and I was ever so disappointed when it ended, I could have read on and on. There’s so much passion, love, sadness and the raw grief that is written about had me near tears. Having lost a child myself it was difficult to read but I could totally sympathise and it really pulled at my heart strings.

Maggie O’Farrell is a tremendous writer, I’ve not read any of her books before but I certainly will be in the future. Hamnet is a story that had me transported back in time, I was in among the family and feeling what they were feeling and it’s a story that I couldn’t stop thinking about when I wasn’t reading it. I think my daughters sick of me harping on about it to be honest.

Hamnet is one I’ll be highly, highly recommending and if I could give it one hundred stars I would. Loved it.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell @PublicityBooks @headlinepg @annecater #Hamnet

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