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Saturday, January 7, 2012

REVIEW - THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE BY MAGGIE O'FARRELL

I got this in a large print which made it easier for me to read this book - my first read of this author and this book has been recommended by so many book bloggers that it had been on my list for some time now. This was a disquieting book for me. It underlined that however smooth a relationship may be and we may think we are very close to someone, there are undercurrents and under lying feelings and unknown incidents which may remain closed to us forever and it is only through some chance incident that some of these things may come to light.  They were intended to remain closed and hidden and in the past.

We have Lexie in the mid 1950s a young girl living in the bosom of her family in Devon and waiting for the adventure of life to begin. Coming from a large and protective family they are aware that they cannot hold on to her for long and Lexie flies off to London to begin her adventures.  Getting into a relationship and starting to live with Innes a journalist much older than her, married with a young daughter on the side as well is one way of severing relationships with her own family and we do not hear of them from this point on.

Alongside this story we have the story of Elina and Ted - Elina just after the traumatic birth of their first baby. Elina having (for me) glimpses of post natal stress and Ted having an illness of his own which has been there for years but apparently not fully diagnosed and we are not told at this stage what the illness is. He shrugs the symptoms off and the couple try to get on with their lives amidst the huge stress of a new baby and the constant work involved let alone the lack of sleep. Elina tries to cope on her own without asking for help, and Ted tries to help not really knowing what he should do to help.

The stories continue in two separate veins but one does realize that the idea of these two distinct stories is that at some time they have to come together in some way or the other otherwise there is no meaning to the plot. And they do. In the most strange, complicated, unbeknown to us way. Which makes it very intriguing and then almost at the end you begin to see the light.

A lovely, compelling story of love, lack of communication in relationships, and from a very practical point of view impressed upon me the importance of writing a will! A very good story teller Maggie O'Farrel.

5 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

So nice to see that you enjoyed this one. It does sound like a story I would enjoy.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I too have seen lots of positive reviews of this book. Glad you enjoyed it :)

Holly said...

I think this one is on my list to grab from the library. I really liked her other book-Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

chelleyreads said...

sounds lovely! and the cover is cute.

JoV said...

I have this on my shelf now and I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the review.