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Publisher's Summary

When the bohemian, sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance 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 for herself, with Innes at her side. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child.
Elina, a painter, struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood, memories that don't tally with his parents' version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.
©2010 Maggie O'Farrell (P)2012 Headline Digital
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Critic Reviews

"O'Farrell has a remarkable ability to convey the texture of human emotion with precision. In The Hand That First Held Mine, she also demonstrates a masterful gift for storytelling." ( Observer)
"Like Daphne du Maurier before her, Maggie O'Farrell writes books designed to stir up the female subconscious and bring our most primal fears to the surface... this book will leave your stomach in knots." ( Daily Mail)
"The journey this novel invites us on is wonderful, involving time travel, heartache, elation, confusion, freedom, nostalgia and art." ( Scotland on Sunday)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Gillian on 03-18-15

Best one yet

I'm really enjoying reading my way through the works of Maggie O'Farrell - and I'd say this was the best yet. Beautifully interwoven stories, fascinating, frustrating, likeable, annoying characters and the detective game of working out how they are connected. Her descriptions are delicate, rhythmic and evocative - of the time I was born and the time I live in today.
Hugo recommended.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By happy loon on 07-07-15


such a great story so well read. first Maggie o Farrell for me but wont be the last.
beautiful x

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Julie on 02-12-18

I was so sad when it ended!

I could have listened to tales from the lives of the two protagonists until the cows came home. I particularly enjoyed Lexi and I would have equally liked Elina if not for the dodgy attempt at her accent on the audible recording. I felt like the book could have happily meandered along ad finitum for me!

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5 out of 5 stars
By Felicity on 04-13-17

Gripping and moving

Would you listen to The Hand That First Held Mine again? Why?

Yes, it's so intriguing and complicated I think I missed a few clues first time around.

What did you like best about this story?

Great characters, a mystery, interweaving of past and present, beautifully written

Which character – as performed by Karen Cass – was your favourite?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, but I'm not giving it away here!

Any additional comments?

I just love this author and the narrator is brilliant at creating the characters.

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