Author: Maggie O'Farrell
Published by: Knopf Canada on Jul. 21, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook, ARC
Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley
Book Rating: 9/10
TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A PLAGUE THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.
England, 1580. A young Latin tutor–penniless, bullied by a violent father–falls in love with an eccentric young woman: a wild creature who walks her family’s estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles on the Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband. His gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when their beloved twins, Hamnet and Judith, are afflicted with the bubonic plague, and, devastatingly, one of them succumbs to the illness.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time, Hamnet & Judith is mesmerizing and seductive, an impossible-to-put-down novel from one of our most gifted writers.
Rich, immersive, and evocative!
Hamnet & Judith is a vivid, compelling, powerful interpretation that sweeps you away to Stratford-upon-Avon in the late 1500s and into the life of the Shakespeare family, from the courtship and marriage of William and Agnes to the devastating loss of their young son Hamlet at the tender age of eleven.
The prose is eloquent and emotive. The characters are well-drawn, endearing, and authentic. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, love, grief, family, aspirations, heartache, and motherhood.
Overall, Hamnet & Judith is a pensive, alluring, beautifully written story by O’Farrell that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into these renowned historical figures whose personal lives are often unknown, forgotten, or overshadowed by the patriarch’s incredibly profound contribution to the world of drama and literature.
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Thank you to Knopf Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.