Join Maggie O'Farrell to talk about THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE, our May Book of the Month, on Wednesday 25th May, 8-9pm

(99 Posts)

May's Book of the Month is a book about motherhood - but in an unusual way. THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE is a beautifully crafted novel that weaves together two lives that are fifty years apart. Lexie lives in 1950s Soho, and is forging a life as a journalist in the bohemian, artistic neighbourhood. Elina is a modern day painter, also living in London, who has just had her first child. Each of their stories echoes the other, and connections keep appearing, leading to a suspense-driven climax. When declaring the book Winner of the 2010 Costa Novel Award, the judges described it as '"A book of grand themes and intimate moments. This gripping novel is the one we'd unreservedly recommend.'

You can read more about the book here.

We're delighted that Maggie will be joining us on Wednesday 25th May, 8-9pm, so don't forget to join us to ask Maggie about all her books, how she writes, her experiences of motherhood, what inspires her... See you then.

scottishmummy Argentina Wed 20-Apr-11 09:52:05

Im a about to have a sycophantic fan mo. i really am
I love MOF fiction have read them all inc this and have re-read After you'd gone a good few times and i pass her books around the lassies in work after i have read them

i will ungraciously be elbowing and feverishly posting
Me!Me!Me!Maggie ignore those other Farrell come lately.Im your true fan

Meh ha ha

questions to follow and plenty of em

raedrenn Wed 20-Apr-11 10:25:50

I loved this book and was really sad when I finished reading it. The subject matter really put a lump in my throat as a new mum. Am welling up already thinking about it! I recommend it to everybody (as I would all her books)

TurtlesAreRetroRight Wed 20-Apr-11 12:48:35

I love Maggie's books. Also a sycophantic fan. I read After You'd Gone on a train and sobbed in public.

I've found this one difficult. Very close to home. But I loved it.

I'll think of a question I'm sure.

cryhavoc Wed 20-Apr-11 15:52:05

Excellent. I've just started it, and will be devouring it after I finish my exam tomorrow and don't have to revise until the end of May.

I absolutely adore After You'd Gone, cried like a baby when I read it. I think Maggie O'Farrell is fantastic.

Can't wait.

Summerbird73 Wed 20-Apr-11 17:21:22

cryhavoc just keep reading it please - it is so so good - it is the only book i have sobbed at.

i have been waiting for this webchat so will wait with - oh FFS i am on holiday then!!!!! angry

erhem - yoohoo MN Towers - any chance you could reschedule...?! <hopeful emoticon!>

tvoffnowplease Wed 20-Apr-11 19:18:23

I read the hand that first held mine recently and was completely overwhelmed. I truely felt as though I knew the characters like I know my closest friends.
As a mum, the thought of your son ending up in those hands... is just... devastating. I was particularly pleased that MOF didn't make her an evil step mum... the evil was so sublime and under the radar that it made it all the more awful... incredible book. Thanks Maggie.

kerala Wed 20-Apr-11 19:47:24

Just finished this book and echo everyone else thought it was fantastic though beware dont read the end on public transport as you will cry.

TartyMcFarty Wed 20-Apr-11 20:31:01

I do enjoy MoF's fiction, and to a certain extent, The Hand that First Held Mine, but I did find the twist a bit contrived. Am I the only one?

D0G Wed 20-Apr-11 21:09:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Summerbird73 Thu 21-Apr-11 08:53:44

I read the ending alone at home and absolutely sobbed (my son is 2 so YSWIM). As a mother i ticked every box she listed on 'that paragraph' of Lexie's thoughts. (trying not to spoil!)

tarty i too felt uncomfortable about the twist and how it all panned out - i sometimes think about it and feel desperately sad for the child and the real mother and what they all missed out on - then remind myself it is not real!

tvoffnow - everything you just said!

mosschops30 Thu 21-Apr-11 09:33:04

I bought this ranomly last week for my holiday stock. Have never read this author before but m really looking forward to it now

elkiedee Thu 21-Apr-11 12:34:31

Good reason to dig my copy out and read it soon (next month though).

bluerodeo Thu 21-Apr-11 13:53:20

wow - I really didn't like this book at all (was a recent book club pick)
found a lot of the characters very 2D and not likable. I don't like the back and forth between the past and present either (so many authors are choosing to write in this style it seems, I'm not a fan!)

lockets Thu 21-Apr-11 18:13:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuickLookBusy Fri 22-Apr-11 14:22:23

Loved loved loved this book. Made me cry, difficult topics handled so sensitively. This is a good excuse to rereadgrin

Another favourite is The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 22-Apr-11 20:51:53

ooooh - DH got me this for Christmas, and I just started reading it this week
<new baby slow readers club>
I enjoyed several of MOF's others, especially The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

bluejeans Sat 23-Apr-11 19:27:55

Excellent! I bought The Hand That First Held Mine about 2 months ago and loved it, since then have been reading all MOF's other books. I've just finished 'The Distance Between Us' and enjoyed that too. After reading the posts above I now want to re-read THTFHM! Really looking forward to the chat now!

piebald Sun 24-Apr-11 20:49:16

In have loved all her books espsecially Esme Lennox, bought this one a s soon as it was in paperback and then took ages to get started on it. I think i need to read it again, i really enjoyed it but i think i had built it up too much in my mind

Thingumy Sun 24-Apr-11 22:40:22

I bought this book a few months ago (cheap buy in tescos) and it sat on a shelf.

Read it this week over a day and I must say it didn't do much for me.

I was intrigued with the earlier relationships but they never were elaborated or gave finer details.I felt it was lacking as a novel.

I like detail and this book,didn't have detail imo.Personalities were very 2 dimensional and I hated vacant and daft explanation of 'panic attacks' .It was all rather weak for me.

I'm willing to send on the book if anyone wants a copy-send me a pm and I'll pass it on.

topsmart Tue 26-Apr-11 19:56:57

Oh lord, how I love Maggie O'Farrell's books. She has such a way with description. She often puts into words what I didn't even know I felt.

I thought The Hand that first held mine really captured what it is to be a mother. Yep, the 'twist' is a tad ott but I felt the novel was such a powerful description of the way life changes with a baby that in a way the plot didn't matter so much.

It's the sort of book that makes me sob and cuddle it when i'm finished. You should have seen me with the After you'd gone! Hideous snotty mess i was.

Truckdriver Wed 27-Apr-11 21:10:26

Just finished it, oh how sadsad But as others have said brilliantly written and the description of those first few days, weeks and months of motherhood was superb. I also enjoyed reading a character struggling with breast feeding.

With regards to the 'twist' I did not really see it as a 'twist', I thought it was obvious from the start where it was going but I just assumed that this was deliberate by the author.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Apr-11 00:12:48

Pleased to hear you're all enjoying the book as much as I did.... Headline books have now informed us that all 50 copies have gone. Look forward to the discussion with Maggie on 25th.

InAStateOfReflux Mon 09-May-11 13:44:54

Have just ordered this on Amazon. Look forward to getting it as it sounds very good! x

gazzalw Tue 10-May-11 10:00:20

Have any of you received a copy from Headline yet? I'm sure I was very quick off the mark in asking for a copy but haven't received anything yet?

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