A review by lindseyhall44
Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes


My second five star read of 2022! This book was phenomenal, and I 100% understand why it won the woman’s prize for fiction two years ago. The writing is lyrical and the character arcs are well rounded. Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, is the story of Shakespeare’s son, who died at a young age from unrecorded causes (this author speculates the plague). Although Hamnet is the namesake of this novel, a majority of it follows his mother Agnes, (also knows as Anne Hathaway) throughout her experiences with  marriage, womanhood, and the loss of a child. Her other children and Shakespeare themselves receive perspectives as well, but we really dive deep into the complexities of Agnes. She is often overshadowed in history by the title of “wife,” and I was glad to see her receive the spotlight. 
The grief portrayed in the Shakespeare family was gutrenching, so much to the point where the emotions seemed to jump off the page. It was sad but healing, and I’m definitely considering trying more Shakespearean works. Hamnet is incredibly slow placed, therefore I wouldn’t recommend if you need action and a plot focus. But for all my literary fiction friends, pick this up wherever you access books:) 
*Some events in this book are fictionalized, fyi.

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