“Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life… here is a novel … so gorgeously written that it transports you." —The Boston Globe
In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.
In the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon, where the world-renowned playwright William Shakespeare resides, lies a tale of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit. "Hamnet," a poignant novel by Maggie O'Farrell, transports readers to the 16th century, immersing them in the life of Agnes, Shakespeare's wife, and their son, Hamnet.
Agnes, a remarkable woman with a deep connection to the natural world, finds solace in herbology and midwifery. She and Shakespeare share a passionate bond, but their happiness is tested when tragedy strikes. Their beloved son, Hamnet, succumbs to the Black Death, leaving a void in their lives that seems impossible to fill.
In the aftermath of this devastating loss, Agnes grapples with grief, seeking solace in the memories of her son and the remnants of his short life. She embarks on a journey of self-discovery, exploring the boundaries of love, loss, and the enduring power of family.
As Agnes navigates the complexities of her emotions, she finds strength in her connection to the natural world. She immerses herself in herbology, seeking solace in the healing properties of plants and the rhythms of the seasons.
"Hamnet" is a beautifully crafted novel that weaves together historical fiction and poignant storytelling. Maggie O'Farrell's vivid prose brings to life the world of Shakespeare's England, immersing readers in the sights, sounds, and textures of the era.
Through the character of Agnes, O'Farrell explores the complexities of grief, the resilience of the human spirit, and the enduring power of love. "Hamnet" is a testament to the enduring legacy of Shakespeare and a moving exploration of the universal experiences of love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family.