#BookReview Hamnet & Judith by Maggie O’Farrell @KnopfCA @PenguinRandomCA #HamnetandJudith Title: Hamnet & Judith

Author: Maggie O'Farrell

Published by: Knopf Canada on Jul. 21, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10


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.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.





Thank you to Knopf Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Maggie O'Farrell

Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, MAGGIE O'FARRELL grew up in Wales and Scotland and now lives in London. She has worked as a waitress, chambermaid, bike messenger, teacher, arts administrator, journalist (in Hong Kong and London), and as the deputy literary editor of The Independent on Sunday. She is the author of After You'd Gone (winner of the Betty Trask Award); My Lover's Lover; The Distance Between Us (recipient of a Somerset Maugham Award); The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; The Hand That First Held Mine; Instructions for a Heatwave (winner of a Costa Book Award); This Must Be the Place; and most recently, I Am, I Am, I Am.

Photograph by Murdo Macleod.

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