The Hand That First Held Mine
Maggie O'Farrell, 2010
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Lexie Sinclair cannot stay. Enclosed within her parents’ genteel country lawn, she yearns for more.
She makes her way to the city, and meets a magazine editor, Innes, a man unlike any she has ever imagined. He introduces her to the thrilling world of bohemian postwar London, and she learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to live 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 by a man wholly unsuitable for marriage or fatherhood, she doesn’t hesitate for a minute to have the baby on her own.
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 return 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. (From the publisher.)
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