The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell - review by Marcella Edwards

Marcella Edwards

Unconventional Unions

The Hand that First Held Mine


Headline Review 352pp £16.99

Maggie O’Farrell’s fifth novel, The Hand that First Held Mine, confronts the difficulties and wonders of motherhood. Through the lives of two women, Lexie and Elina, living a generation apart, a story of abandonment and unexpected joy spools out across London. 

O’Farrell’s detail is excellent. Each life – Lexie’s in the Fifties and Sixties and Elina’s in the Noughties – is painted as intricately as a miniature. However, while her focus is acute, her chapters are often frustratingly short: for the first half of the book, it’s hard to

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