The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

About the book

When the sophisticated Innes Kent turns up on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. Elina struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood that don’t tally with his parents’ version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.

Reviewed by Andover Library Reading Group:

Despite a slow start we were drawn into the story. Several twists held our interest. Needing to know the connections between families and individuals kept us reading. Good story.

Star rating: ***

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4 thoughts on “The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell”

  1. Review from Fareham 5:30 Redaing Group
    We all loved this book, and its 5* rating was unaminous. We liked the characters – teh ywere interesting and credible, We liked the two stories, how the sense of place linked the two time periods, and and how they came together at the end. It is beautifully written without being heavy. And our “best cover ever” is awared to this book – look att he credits for the photo to see why!


  2. Review by Ems Valley U3A
    Difficult to get into but we all agreed the plot was cleverly constructed with a very satisfying ending. Excellent use of vivid similes to carry over description.
    Star rating: ***


  3. Review by New Milton Sands WI/3
    Almost everyone enjoyed the book – one person hated it. Either the main characters appealed completely or appalled!
    Lots of controversy.
    Star rating: ***


  4. A good story and yet and yet, it left most of us feeling unfulfilled, a bit non plussed.
    We could pick some holes in the storyline but there were some perfect descriptions particularly about life with a baby. We all finished it as we wanted to know how the past and present were reconciled .
    It did generate some discussion about family secrets.
    3 stars


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