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2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Hand That First Held Mine

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The Hand That First Held Mine Cover

ISBN13: 9780547330792
ISBN10: 0547330790
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the thrilling, underground world of bohemian post-war London, Lexie Sinclair is making an extraordinary life for herself. Taken up by magazine editor Innes Kent, she learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it.

Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. Her boyfriend, Ted, traumatized by nearly losing her in labor, begins to recover lost memories. He cannot place them. But as they become more disconcerting and happen more frequently, we discover that something connects these two stories — these two women — something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation.

A stunning portrait of motherhood and the artist's life in all their terror and glory, Maggie O'Farrell's newest novel is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways we make and unmake our lives, who we know ourselves to be, and how even our most accidental legacies connect us.

Review:

"O'Farrell (The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox) interweaves two seemingly unconnected stories — that of Lexie Sinclair, living in post-WWII London, and Elina Vilkuna, a denizen of present-day London. Lexie is a rebellious 21-year-old, and when she meets handsome and sophisticated Innes Kent, she realizes he's the one who can help her find the adventure and excitement she craves. Their affair coincides with her moving up in the ranks at the magazine he edits, but a tragedy changes Lexie's life forever. Fifty-odd years later, Elina, a painter, faces her own struggles: she recently had a son with her boyfriend, Ted, and, after a rough child-birth, Ted and Elina struggle to recalibrate their relationship as it evolves into parenthood. While O'Farrell brings Lexie to life, she does not achieve the same with Elina and Ted, who come across as just another bland couple facing the challenges of having a child. The two plots are, naturally, connected, but the contemporary plot doesn't really get moving until too late in the book. If the contemporary storyline was developed half as well as the historical plot, this would be a wonderful book. As it is, it feels lighter than it should." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A stunning portrait of motherhood and the artist's life in all their terror and glory, O'Farrell's newest novel is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways in which even the most accidental legacies often connect people.

Synopsis:

A novel of two women—a writer and a painter—who are connected across fifty years by love stories, family secrets, and motherhood.

Synopsis:

From the best-selling author of The Vanishing of Esme Lennox comes a spellbinding novel that shows there are no accidents, in life and in love.

 

Frustrated with her parents' genteel country life, Lexie Sinclair plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, postwar Soho. She learns to be a reporter, comes to know art and artists, and embraces her freedom fully. So when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own. Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood and finds she can't remember giving birth, while her boyfriend Ted is flooded with memories and images he cannot place. As their stories unfold—moving in time and changing voice chapter by chapter—a connection between the three of them takes shape that drives the novel towards a tremendous revelation. Praised by The Washington Post as a “breathtaking, heart-breaking creation,” The Hand That First Held Mine is a gorgeous and tenderly wrought story about the ways in which love and beauty bind us together.

Synopsis:

Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself.

Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it. She creates many lives--all of them unconventional. And when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own terms.

Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place.

As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories-- these two women-- something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation.

The Hand That First Held Mine is a spellbinding novel of two women connected across fifty years by art, love, betrayals, secrets, and motherhood. Like her acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, it is a "breathtaking, heart-breaking creation."*And it is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways we make and unmake our lives, who we know ourselves to be, and how even our most accidental legacies connect us.

*The Washington Post Book World

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About the Author

Maggie O'Farrell is the author of four previous novels, including the acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, which was a B&N Recommends Pick, and After You'd Gone. Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, O'Farrell grew up in Wales and Scotland. She has two children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Denise Morland, August 24, 2010 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
The Hand That First Held Mine starts with Lexie Sinclair, raised in a wealthy, country family, she flees to postwar London looking for excitement and stimulation. She takes up with Innes, an older man who owns and edits a magazine. As a reporter she develops into a fascinating woman, strong and opinionated, but with a tender connection to Innes.

Switch to modern day and we meet Elina and Ted, a young couple who have just had a baby through a traumatic birth. As a new father Ted begins to have disturbing visions and memories that he can't place or explain. Elina struggles to recover from the birth and, conversely, seems to be losing her memories.

In the end, the two stories are linked through a horrible tragedy.

I loved the parts of the book about Lexie. She is grows a lot during the book and develops into a woman I would like to know. Her experiences shape her in interesting, yet realistic ways. The modern day story is not as well-written with Ted and Elina seeming to drift in a haze, not knowing what direction to take. The climatic ending was great, but the middle of the book could have used a little more oomph. I didn't enjoy The Hand That First Held Mine as much as The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, but it was worth the read.

I listened to the audio version of The Hand That First Held Mine, read by Anne Flosnick. I am a sucker for a British accent and she hers is a nice, subtle one. I do wish she had used a more pronounced difference for the voices of Lexie and Elina and for the two plot lines in general.
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Sarah E Rose Evans, June 13, 2010 (view all comments by Sarah E Rose Evans)
Wow. This was really amazing, particularly since a friend and I were JUST talking the other day about how this whole motherhood thing can be overwhelmingly challenging, and how few seem to appreciate it. And we hadn't read anything that conveyed an awareness of how hard it can be, how consuming and wonderful and horrific all at the same time. And then I came home and read this novel and was like, "Oh. She got it. This is EXACTLY what it is like."

There were two threads in this story, one historical (post-war London), one modern, and they were BOTH fascinating. It's a difficult task but she balanced the two storylines perfectly and they came together in a very satisfying way.

Plus there's the art thing and the Soho thing and the feminism thing and the journalism thing and really the whole thing is fascinating, and beautiful, but not in a painful Signifigant Novel sort of way.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780547330792
Author:
O'Farrell, Maggie
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
London (england)
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20110126
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.2 pd

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The Hand That First Held Mine Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 360 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547330792 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "O'Farrell (The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox) interweaves two seemingly unconnected stories — that of Lexie Sinclair, living in post-WWII London, and Elina Vilkuna, a denizen of present-day London. Lexie is a rebellious 21-year-old, and when she meets handsome and sophisticated Innes Kent, she realizes he's the one who can help her find the adventure and excitement she craves. Their affair coincides with her moving up in the ranks at the magazine he edits, but a tragedy changes Lexie's life forever. Fifty-odd years later, Elina, a painter, faces her own struggles: she recently had a son with her boyfriend, Ted, and, after a rough child-birth, Ted and Elina struggle to recalibrate their relationship as it evolves into parenthood. While O'Farrell brings Lexie to life, she does not achieve the same with Elina and Ted, who come across as just another bland couple facing the challenges of having a child. The two plots are, naturally, connected, but the contemporary plot doesn't really get moving until too late in the book. If the contemporary storyline was developed half as well as the historical plot, this would be a wonderful book. As it is, it feels lighter than it should." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A stunning portrait of motherhood and the artist's life in all their terror and glory, O'Farrell's newest novel is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways in which even the most accidental legacies often connect people.
"Synopsis" by , A novel of two women—a writer and a painter—who are connected across fifty years by love stories, family secrets, and motherhood.
"Synopsis" by , From the best-selling author of The Vanishing of Esme Lennox comes a spellbinding novel that shows there are no accidents, in life and in love.

 

Frustrated with her parents' genteel country life, Lexie Sinclair plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, postwar Soho. She learns to be a reporter, comes to know art and artists, and embraces her freedom fully. So when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own. Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood and finds she can't remember giving birth, while her boyfriend Ted is flooded with memories and images he cannot place. As their stories unfold—moving in time and changing voice chapter by chapter—a connection between the three of them takes shape that drives the novel towards a tremendous revelation. Praised by The Washington Post as a “breathtaking, heart-breaking creation,” The Hand That First Held Mine is a gorgeous and tenderly wrought story about the ways in which love and beauty bind us together.

"Synopsis" by ,

Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself.

Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it. She creates many lives--all of them unconventional. And when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own terms.

Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place.

As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories-- these two women-- something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation.

The Hand That First Held Mine is a spellbinding novel of two women connected across fifty years by art, love, betrayals, secrets, and motherhood. Like her acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, it is a "breathtaking, heart-breaking creation."*And it is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways we make and unmake our lives, who we know ourselves to be, and how even our most accidental legacies connect us.

*The Washington Post Book World

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