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The Hand That First Held Mine
The Hand That First Held Mine | Maggie O'Farrell
Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself. Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace 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, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own. Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place. As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories-- these two women-- something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation. Here Maggie O'Farrell brings us a spellbinding novel of two women connected across fifty years by art, love, betrayals, secrets, and motherhood. Like her acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, it is a "breathtaking, heart-breaking creation."* And it 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. *The Washington Post Book World
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KarenUK
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#AyUpAugust #Babies
Oh how I love Maggie O‘Farrell!
The writing is beautiful, and the intertwining stories kept me enthralled until the last page. I love how she plays with time, slipping between the two narratives seamlessly, even seeing some scenes play backwards, slowly slipping from our grasp.
Motherhood is one of many themes, and although I don‘t have children, the experiences were captured in such a way, I could feel every joy and struggle.

Cinfhen Love that picture on the right 💕💕💕💕And I know I NEED to read this book, as @TrishB Loves it too!!! 3w
Cathythoughts I loved this one & still havnt read another by her ... must do 3w
squirrelbrain Oh dear, another one added to the TBR, if @TrishB and @KarenUK love it! 3w
TrishB This is a lovely read 👍🏻 @Cinfhen @Cathythoughts @squirrelbrain 💕 3w
41 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Madison91
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Mehso-so

I get why people like this book, it just really isn‘t my style, it‘s a beautiful book and easy to read but just not for me

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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

In one timeline, Lexie is living the life in post-war Soho, London, with charismatic editor Innes. In the other timeline Elina and Ted are dealing with the changes a firstborn brings.
It‘s not immediately clear how the storylines relate but I loved them both, I loved the female mc‘s, I loved their thoughts on motherhood. Maggie O‘Farrell now definitely is a favorite author of mine.

#ATY2019 A book with a dual timeline
#Booked2019 Irish author

KarenUK Oh me too! I‘m becoming a complete fan girl! I just love her writing.... 💕 7mo
JennyM I loved this ❤️ 7mo
Rachel_nyc Thanks for the reminder. Definitely looking forward to reading more from her. 7mo
See All 15 Comments
ephemeralwaltz Yes!! This was so good😍 I fell in love with her storytelling. 7mo
CarolynM I loved this one too❤️ 7mo
hilded Oh, this sounds really good 🤩 #stacked 7mo
Cathythoughts I loved this one too 👍🏻♥️ 7mo
Cinfhen I know @KarenUK and @TrishB love Maggie O but she doesn‘t do it for me 🙈I‘m glad u enjoyed 7mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen I can‘t imagine she‘s not for you. I‘m almost sure you‘d love this one. Which one have you read? 7mo
Cinfhen I‘ve read three: her memoir, My Lover‘s Lover & 7mo
Cinfhen 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️ 7mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen I can‘t say you haven‘t tried 😂😘 7mo
BarbaraBB @hilded It is! 7mo
TrishB I think 3 is enough! I normally give authors 2, sometimes it‘s just not to be 🤷‍♀️ 7mo
Megabooks Thank you for the rec! #stacked 4mo
90 likes7 stack adds15 comments
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KarenUK
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#januarywrapup
A good month of reading with no bails and only a couple of so-so books...

Favorite books - ‘Conversations with Friends‘ and ‘The Hand that first held mine‘ - Irish ladies rock! 🍀

Honorable non-fiction mentions - ‘The Novel Cure‘ was so much fun, the ‘London Letters‘ are beautiful, and Jamie‘s new book, one of his most usable.

12/100 #goodreads
5/6 #booked2019 #winter
8/40 #pop19

Cinfhen 🙌🏻 Woohoo 🎉 🎉 🎉 great month 7mo
Crazeedi I like these, I will have to check a couple out! 7mo
Kalalalatja Well done! 7mo
JennyM Great start to the year 👏🏼 7mo
63 likes4 comments
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KarenUK
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Pickpick

Two intertwining stories of Lexie and Elina, 60‘s and present day London, and truly beautiful writing.
I love how Maggie plays with time, back and forth between the stories as seamlessly as a gentle tide. And even within each story, we see some scenes backwards, characters slowly slipping from our grasp.
Motherhood is a major theme, and although I‘m not a mum, the experiences were captured in such a skillful way, I felt every joy and struggle.💕

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 I really enjoyed this one too. 7mo
JillR I love Maggie O‘Farrell so much. I read this a long time ago and keep meaning to reread 💕 7mo
KarenUK @JillR I‘ve read 3 now, and been blown away be all of them... she‘s so great! 😍 (edited) 7mo
See All 6 Comments
JillR Agreed @KarenUK - she lost me a bit with Instructions for a Heatwave, but won me back with This Must be the Place, which I loved :) 7mo
Cathythoughts Yes ! I too loved this one. It‘s the only one of hers I‘ve read ♥️👍🏻 7mo
CarolynM @Cathythoughts Ditto, but I plan to read some more 7mo
75 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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KarenUK
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💕..... One paragraph in, and already Maggie‘s writing has me hooked...

JennyM I‘ll always remember this book. It was my first O‘Farrell and started my love for her writing. Enjoy 😊 7mo
BarbaraBB Looking forward to that one💕 7mo
TrishB Enjoy ❤️ 7mo
62 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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KarenUK
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#nextup on kindle....
To say I have high expectations for this one is an understatement!
I read two Maggie O‘Farrell books last year, and both were 5⭐️ reads for me, and I hear this is one of her best...... so 🤞
#booked2019 #irishauthor

Cinfhen I know my reading bestie @TrishB LOVES Maggie 💚💚💚 7mo
KarenUK Have you read this one @TrishB ? 7mo
TrishB This is a great read ❤️ hope you like it as much as I did. @Cinfhen 😘 7mo
See All 7 Comments
CarolynM I really enjoyed this one❤️ 7mo
BarbaraBB Which other two did you read Karen? 7mo
KarenUK @BarbaraBB This must be the place & I am I am I am .... 7mo
BarbaraBB Ah! Then I have to read I am I am I am soon! 7mo
68 likes1 stack add7 comments
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lynneamch
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Some time in the past, Lexie arrives in London, arranges the few books she brought from home & ignores her mother's advice to always wear a girdle. In present day London, Elina is #inthekitchen puzzled by an "uhHggg" noise. (It's her newborn baby she doesn't remember having ?) The #bookjacket is translucent, so you can see the reverse image inside (Lexie?). The #hardcover is printed with a different image (Elina?). #FallintoReading @vkois88

lynneamch Maggie O'Farrell always intrigues me and never disappoints. Fascinating stories and now a fascinating #cover, too. @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 9mo
vkois88 That's really intriguing! 9mo
47 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Tanisha_A
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My #usedbooks stack, which came in today's mail. I have read only A Thousand Splendid Suns out of these. Looking forward to the rest. #Bookmail 😀

TrishB Enjoyed The Hand that First Held Mine 👍🏻 1y
erzascarletbookgasm Great titles! 👍 1y
Cathythoughts I loved The Hand That First Held Mine. It‘s the only OFarrel I‘ve read. Must read more !! 1y
See All 11 Comments
Tanisha_A @Cathythoughts @TrishB Picking it up right after my current read. Thanks ladies! ❤ 1y
Tanisha_A @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you! Let's see when I get to them! 😆 1y
BiblioLitten The Miniaturist looks promising! 1y
Crazeedi @BiblioLitten it was different, I liked it, the ending was not what I expected 1y
batsy Atonement ❤️ 1y
Tanisha_A @batsy I bought it after I saw your review. ❤ Thanks to you! 1y
batsy Look forward to your thoughts when you get around to it ☺️💕 1y
53 likes1 stack add11 comments
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TrishB
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#iwanttoholdyourhand #heyjune
Loved this one 💕

CarolynM I loved it too 1y
Cinfhen Still need to read this author! You sent me two titles 💕 1y
Sweettartlaura @Cinfhen She‘s amazing 😍. I haven‘t read this one yet (it‘s on my shelf), but every one I have read has been a pleasure. Get on it 😜 1y
See All 8 Comments
Cathythoughts Oh great choice Trish !! I loved this one & only Maggie OFarell I‘ve read ( must read more of her .... 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 1y
Sweettartlaura @Cinfhen I sure do 😩 1y
JennyM Oh me, too. This was the first O‘Farrell I read. 1y
ephemeralwaltz @JennyM mine too! I loved this! 1y
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enidkeaner
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TrishB I enjoyed this one 👍🏻 1y
13 likes1 comment
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Read66
Pickpick

I have always been a fan of this author - found this novel a bit slow at the start but ultimately it evolved into a lovely story of mothers and family ties. An enjoyable read.

CarolynM This is the only one of her novels I have read and I liked it a lot. I want to try another one, which would you recommend? 1y
Read66 I really enjoyed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox 1y
2 likes2 comments
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ephemeralwaltz
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Books in Barcelona🌹📚😍

Cathythoughts The only Maggie Ofarrell I‘ve read & loved it ( tagged book) 1y
Kalalalatja 😍😍 1y
ephemeralwaltz @Cathythoughts Me too!! (It's the closest book you can see in the photo - just released in Spain!) 1y
Cathythoughts Oh ! Very good 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 1y
Sophoclessweetheart This looks so wonderful! 1y
85 likes5 comments
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ephemeralwaltz
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Pickpick

Another great read I managed to finish today! I fell in love with O'Farrell's writing and then with these characters. I love novels that follow various characters in different time periods. This story coming together at the end blew me away, very enjoyable. This was my first O'Farrell but won't be my last. A story about art, loss, motherhood, ambitions, and secrets kept for years...

⭐⭐⭐⭐

TrishB I enjoyed this one 👍🏻 1y
RealLifeReading I loved this one! 1y
72 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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ephemeralwaltz
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I‘m just the girl on the train #currentlyreading

SilversReviews Love the train and your photo. 1y
ReadZenRites I‘m really glad though that you‘re not THAT girl on the train 😬😉 1y
See All 13 Comments
ephemeralwaltz @ReadZenRites hahaha me too... I disliked that book - I just love using the title. 1y
SilversReviews @ephemeralwaltz I started it and NEVER finished it. I liked your comment about the girl on the train. Clever. I am the girl on the train a lot. 😍😍😍 I always take The Pennsylvanian from Pittsburgh to New York City to see my son. Easier than driving. :) Train is always pleasant for me. @ReadZenRites 1y
ephemeralwaltz @SilversReviews It was so overhyped... that sounds like a gorgeous trip! 😍Train rides are so peaceful and such a great way to get some extra reading time if you don‘t have a group of talkers around you...😂😂 1y
ReadZenRites I‘d agree with you both @ephemeralwaltz & @SilversReviews about the book! ❤️it in the caption, though!😊 I spent many pleasant hours on the the LIRR myself years ago. Cleary it‘s the reading that distinguishes us from that character! 😂😂😂 (edited) 1y
ephemeralwaltz @ReadZenRites 😂😘😘😘 1y
SilversReviews @ReadZenRites @ephemeralwaltz It is a peaceful trip. I got an entire book read on the way back last week. It is an eight-hour trip with lovely views. It goes the entire way across Pennsylvania. I did find a few women reading books, and of course I had to stop and chat. 😍😍😍 Many people liked the book and many didn‘t. 😍😍😍 1y
ephemeralwaltz @SilversReviews what book was it?? It‘s so nice to chat with other readers :) I never approach readers on public transportation but I should! 1y
Cathythoughts I really loved The Hand That First Held Mine .... and the ending ❤️❤️❤️ 1y
Cathythoughts I love being on a 🚂 train too ! Chooo chooo 😊reading & chugging along 1y
ephemeralwaltz @Cathythoughts that‘s great to hear, I‘m about 50% in and am loving it! ❤️❤️ it‘s my first by her 1y
76 likes1 stack add13 comments
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LisaCarey
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I've decided to get an imaginary Maggie O'Farrell PhD with a minor in Hilary Mantel. #authorobsession

LisaCarey One of the most accurate portrayals I have ever read of the strange and beautiful limbo of mothering an infant. 1y
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
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erzascarletbookgasm
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Happy day! Happy 💃🏻 because it‘s #bookmail day! Wonderful gifts from lovely @Cathythoughts ! I have not read the books and I look forward to reading them. Love the vintage-looking journal/notebook, it is truly beautiful with gold-printed motif sprayed on the edges. Thank you, Cathy, I love everything! ❤️😙💝

#Litsylove

ju.ca.no The Bell Jar💜💜💜 2y
Nikki15 Such a pretty journal 🧡 2y
Cathythoughts So glad this got to you. There was a. 2y
See All 11 Comments
youneverarrived That journal is lovely! ❤️❤️ 2y
Cathythoughts Went to soon ....,, there was a Maggie O F on your TBR but I couldn‘t find it. So took a chance on this one , it‘s the only one I‘ve read , I hope you like it as much as I did. So relieved you havnt read them ! Whew ! Enjoy my friend, I‘m happy that you are pleased ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
erzascarletbookgasm @Cathythoughts 💕. 🤞your package arrives soon. It‘s been so long! 2y
Cathythoughts It definitely will !! I‘ll post straight away 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 2y
erzascarletbookgasm @Nikki15 @youneverarrived It is beautiful, I‘m afraid to write in it! 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks That journal is gorgeous ❤️ 2y
Cinfhen Lovely💕💕💕 2y
batsy The Bell Jar ❤️ And that beautiful journal 😍 2y
93 likes11 comments
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Coleen
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Mehso-so

Last official read of 2017, read on audio. Wavering between a pick and a so-so. While the writing was good, I just found myself having trouble connecting with the characters.

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enidkeaner
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November was a decent month for book obtaining!

#bookhaul

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TrishB
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Pickpick

Another awesome read from O'Farrell. Quite sad at the end. Family lives and lies and the outcomes of these. She writes amazing characters.

KarenUK I absolutely loved ‘This must be the place‘.... moving this one up the TBR on your recommendation 👍💕 2y
Cathythoughts I loved this too ! To the very end 💫💫💫❤️ 2y
Blaire Ooh - a new author to try. 2y
See All 9 Comments
TrishB @KarenUK it's a lovely read 👍 2y
TrishB @Cathythoughts the ending was so bittersweet 💔 I loved Lexie, a great character. 2y
TrishB @Blaire I only found her a few months ago and am working my way through her past books. 2y
umbrellagirl #addtocart I loved her Esme Lennox 2y
Oryx I need to read some more of her. Read This Must Be The Place recently, after Marion Keyes mentioned how awesome she was when she spoke at Waterstones. I thought it was great. 2y
TrishB @Oryx the others are as good 👍 2y
118 likes10 stack adds9 comments
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TrishB
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69 likes1 stack add
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TrishB
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This made me chuckle 😀
This is another great read from O'Farrell.

CarolynM Great quote from a lovely novel 2y
Cathythoughts This is the only I‘ve read so far. ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
candc320 I love her novels! 2y
See All 9 Comments
TrishB @CarolynM @Cathythoughts @candc320 she writes so beautifully ❤ 2y
BookNAround I just discovered Maggie O‘Farrell, and by discovered I mean finally pulled one of her books (and there are several) off my tbr piles and read it. 😂 I really liked it so I guess it‘s good I already own more! 2y
TrishB @BookNAround cool 👍which one have you started? 2y
BookNAround I read This Must Be the Place this summer. I think I have two (maybe three others in my stacks though). 2y
TrishB @BookNAround I enjoyed that one 👍 2y
minkyb Hilariously true. 2y
102 likes3 stack adds9 comments
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Julielovesbooks

Finished this book just now. Really liked it, very well written and an unusual story line. I will definitely read more by this author.

Cathythoughts I loved it too 👍❤️❤️ 2y
Julielovesbooks Really enjoyed this one! 2y
6 likes2 comments
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Julielovesbooks

So, I am getting into this book, intriguing characters but so far I cannot see any connection between them. This makes me want to sit down and read a great big chunk of it!

Cathythoughts Yes, it takes awhile for the stories to connect. I thought the writing was beautiful 💕I know a big chunk of time is what I‘m looking for too 🙄👍 (edited) 2y
5 likes1 comment
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Julielovesbooks
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Just started on this journey, seems promising.

Cathythoughts Oh Julie I really loved this one ❤️I hope you do too. Also very excited that you are up & running on Litsy 👍👍❤️also lovely pic (edited) 2y
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
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RealLifeReading
Hand That First Held Mine | Maggie O'Farrell
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#fallintobooks day 3: #cursive
I remember being made to learn cursive during primary school in Singapore and just hating it! But it makes for some pretty covers!

Graciouswarriorprincess The shoe books are gorgeous! 2y
PacingTheCage How to be a Woman was hilarious. But I really lie British humor/sarcasm/snarkiness. 2y
TrishB Great pic 👍 2y
batsy Yeah, we were made to learn cursive handwriting too (I almost typed "handwringing" ?) I hated it and was so bad at it, which makes sense; my handwriting is the worst! 2y
readinginthedark I loved cursive! But I was really angry that we learned it and had to use it on everything for three years, and then we were required to switch back to print for everything. It was hard. 2y
134 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Cathythoughts
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Pickpick

Just finished this audiobook. ( one of the books put forward by our bookclub for summer) And what an excellent choice it was. I'm still in tears sinse finishing this. There are many secrets in this book that are gradually revealed. Two stories intertwine. Two strong artistic women whose lives( & the lives of their loved ones) unfold over time & space. The love of a mother for her child. I will read more Maggie OFarrel. Beautiful writer.

Cathythoughts This painting is by Picasso (edited) 2y
TrishB Just read my first by her too and will definitely be reading others! 2y
Cathythoughts @TrishB I read she has an autobiography coming out next year. I Am I Am I Am. that might be interesting. 2y
See All 7 Comments
TrishB I think it's already out in the UK. I'm out shopping with my daughter today I may have a look 😀 2y
Cathythoughts @TrishB 👍great. I'd say it will be good. 2y
BarbaraBB I read one by O'Farrell and thought the same after finishing it. I still haven't though. Your review is a good reminder! (edited) 2y
Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB I know it's so hard to get to all the good books. But we will 💃🏾 2y
19 likes7 comments
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Katharine1
Pickpick

I‘m a big fan of Maggie O‘Farrell so I was expecting to like this and wasn‘t disappointed. The writing style is elegant and poetic, the characters are brilliantly portrayed and I loved seeing how the two stories eventually came together

Yvonnel I recently read This Must Be the Place and LOVED it! What other books would you recommend by her? Thanks! 2y
3 likes1 comment
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Cathythoughts
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I'm on this audiobook it's only my second one. It's excellent. So, time to clean the house while I listen 👏👏💃🏾

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Cathythoughts
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It's morning time. And audiobook & clean the house time. It took me awhile to get into this book, but it's shaping up nicely & an interesting audiobook, it's on our Bookclub summer reading list. So it's a great way to multitask. Yesterday the kitchen was left sparkling, not sure which room to tackle today. Such a different experience listening to a book. I def prefer the act of reading. Still , killing 2 birds with one ......

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Cathythoughts
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Garden audiobook. Our Bookclub is taking a summer break. This is one of our summer recommendations . This book I will listen to, I've only listened to one other audio. New experience, here we go ......

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RealLifeReading
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#maybookflowers day 14: #booksaboutmothers
I love this book about a new mother

"The shock of motherhood, for Lexie, is not the sleeplessness, the troughs of exhaustion, the shrinkage of life, how your existence becomes limited to the streets around where you live, but the onslaught of domestic tasks; the washing and the folding and the drying. Performing these tasks makes her almost weep with furious boredom…"

lynneamch I think this is one of the two remainig Maggie O'Farrell's I haven't read yet. Must move it up on the TBR. I bought them all after reading 2y
Bibliogirl Oh that quote! That is truth. 2y
anniegr The first O'Farrell book I read and probably my favorite. I read it after my second child was born. So good. 2y
See All 6 Comments
RealLifeReading @lynneamch this one is so good 2y
RealLifeReading @anniegr perhaps one of the best books about new parenthood 2y
132 likes8 stack adds6 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
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"This is a book that in a very real sense captures what it means to be a wife and mother. The issues of being a new mother and a working woman with a child are beautifully outlined showing how having a child changes a woman and the dynamics of a marriage."
I have not read this, so took the description above from one of its blurbs.
#tbr #maybookflowers #booksaboutmothers

52 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
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Pickpick

I think I may have found a new favorite author! I've been wanting to read Maggie O'Farrell for awhile and I'm so glad I did. The story of two different women - from different points in time, switching back and forth from their points of view. Probably one of the best pieces of writing about new motherhood and the hazy feeling of taking care of a newborn. So realistic, terrifying yet beautiful. I'm looking forward to exploring more by this author.

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GutsyGilbertGirl
Pickpick

Captivating, dramatic and beautiful tale of two families across two decades.

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cleoh
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First big Litsy milestone! You guys are awesome 😊

Texreader 🎉🎉🎉🎉👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
LauraBeth Awesome 🎉🎉🎉😺😺😺 3y
JoeStalksBeck 👍🏻🙏🏻😀📚👌🏻 3y
Bookzombie Yay!!! 3y
19 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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LitHousewife
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Pickpick

Reading This Must Be The Place has brought this book to mind. I treasure it in every way, making it a perfect choice for #recommendsday. This story touched my heart and the physical book itself is just as beautiful. I've taken the dust jacket on and off so many times because of the effect. Maggie O'Farrell is most definitely my #wcw, too.

Megabooks Beautiful! 3y
BookishMarginalia That is one gorgeous book! 3y
54 likes8 stack adds2 comments