Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell


By Maggie O'Farrell

  • Release Date: 2020-07-21
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 694 Ratings


*A New York Times Best Seller*
*One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year*
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year

“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.


  • Recommend

    By Sunnyislesbeach
    Outstanding details and characters that meld with archetypes and Shakespeare and history. Pleasurable read and I want to reread it immediately.
  • Meh

    By iosnopes
    I suppose some of my disappointment comes from expectations. This is just a novel. The language is good, but earthbound. The plot? If this was about the son of a glove maker in sixteenth century Britain but not Shakespeare, would anybody care? The author lets our fascination with Shakespeare do the heavy lifting.
  • heartbreaking

    By epopovitz
    i almost couldn’t finish as my eyes were blurry with tears. what a great novel.
  • Great writing

    By Cut wood
    It’s not quick to read. But it’s a beautiful book. The characters came alive.
  • Spellbinding, raw; tears at your very soul. I couldn’t put it down.

    By Connie McC
    Maggie O’Farrell’s characterization of the Shakespeare family is gut wrenchingly authentic and beautifully told. Seamlessly moving through time and subplots, she tells this story of loss with such raw emotion, never holding back, letting the reader in on all of the family’s devastation. I was absolutely captivated.
  • Hamnet

    By Michellr F
    Excellent read!

    By go2gwen
    Suspenseful, engaging, emotional, informative. A historical novel with some bite to it. Multi-faceted characters. Exquisite detail. Compelling mise-en-scène. I felt transported and didn’t want it to end. It inspired me to want to read more of the author’s work, and I appreciated the perspective of more than one character and the meticulous amount of research that the story represents. Vivid descriptions. The author recreated a world, and I fully embraced.
  • Such gorgeous, sweeping prose

    By very.carrie7
    As many good authors of historical fiction, Maggie anchors you in the place and time through the five senses. One of the most notable passages is the one that talks about how the Black Plague traveled to Shakespeare’s family— truly a journey. Looking forward to continuing to read her work. What a gorgeous book, from beginning to end.
  • A Masterpiece

    By RachelCLWalsh
    Hamnet is a phenomenal story and a beautiful read. The author grabbed me from the first page to the last.
  • Interesting

    By juliusa
    This was not as amazing as I’d read. It was an interesting premise, but overly dramatic to the point of being verbose and dull as it went on. Certainly a good writer, just not what it appears to be.