Book Review: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell is one of my favourite authors – someone whose latest book I would always actively seek out.  I was delighted, therefore, to be granted access to a review copy of her new book, Hamnet, on NetGalley.  What a wonderful read this is.

From the blurb:

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; a 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.

I always enjoy books which explore the lives of famous people or well-known events from an unexpected perspective.  The genius of O’Farrell’s text is that it makes a virtue of ‘the elephant in the room’.  William Shakespeare is not named once in the book – in fact we experience his character as almost incidental to the main story, which focuses principally on his wife Agnes, how her life is affected by her marriage into the Shakespeare family, and how she is affected by the fate of her children, most particularly her son Hamnet. Continue reading “Book Review: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell”

Six Degrees of Separation: From A Christmas Carol to Letters From Father Christmas


Greetings! It’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation post. This is a meme hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a common starting point and participants then link to six other books to form a chain. It is endlessly amazing to see all the different results and I love taking part.

Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation: From A Christmas Carol to Letters From Father Christmas”

Travel Essentials

When I travel south to visit my family and friends this week, I will be away for seven days.  Not very long in the grand scheme of things.  But long enough to warrant proper consideration about what to take in the way of ‘hobby-related’ items.

I always over-estimate how much time I will have to read, knit, sketch etc whenever I go away.  But on the other hand, a holiday to me seems like the ideal time to allow oneself to be inspired by new places and new things.  So I don’t want there to be a moment when I am not fully prepared!

Continue reading “Travel Essentials”