Hamnet

by Maggie O'Farrell | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9781984898876 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 7/3/2022
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, July 3, 2022
I got this softcover at Barnes and Noble for another release copy. It's historical fiction based on the life of William Shakespeare, whose son Hamnet died young; here, the focus is more on Shakespeare's wife and children, whose lives in Stratford-upon-Avon diverge more and more from his life in London. (The author introduces a background for his wife Anne - here known as "Agnes", which was the name on her father's will - fleshing out the scanty details of her history with passages about her knowledge of herbs and bees, and suggesting that she has a kind of second sight.)

The story unfolds in present and past timestreams, alternating between Agnes' early life and the current-day illness of Judith, her twin brother Hamnet's attempts to find help, Agnes' labors to save her daughter - and the eventual illness of Hamnet, just as the family is celebrating Judith's recovery. Lots of detail of daily life at that time and place, with delvings into the internal lives of the main characters, with intertwined family relationships - some brutal, some helpful - and with the changing attitudes about William. At first his departure to London to be a playwright instead of a glove-maker causes disdain or open strife in the family, but as his reputation grows there's more respect for his choices. But Agnes, despite missing him, can't quite commit to move to London, and once the children get sick and the family suffers its heartbreaking loss, she's determined to stay where she is.

The conclusion of the story does feature a trip to London, where she sees what her husband has done as his own way of coping with the death of his son. Much of the internal motivation of the characters has to be made up by the author, of course, but the story feels solid and believable - and very, very touching.

Released 1 mo ago (7/4/2022 UTC) at Carolyn's Books LFL, Kennedy Drive in Keene, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in this new-to-me Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

** Released for the 52 Towns in 52 Weeks challenge. **

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