This book, The Hand that First Held Mine, is by Maggie O’Farrell, who in my opinion is a great storyteller.
Alternating between past and present, each chapter of this book tells the story of either Lexi or Elaina. Lexi’s story is set in the 1950s-60s and Elaina’s is set in present day. Two women whom, unknown to them, share something in common (you’ll find out). The only reason I rate it 4 out of 5 stars is because I would’ve liked it to be just about the 1950s part, although that would take away from the story- the present-day part is still very good, very interesting and ties in with a twist at the end-its just a personal thing (i prefer period writings in comparison to anything contemporary).
Not only is this a beautiful story line, but there are so many themes tackled, beautiful descriptive passages and just such good writing that takes you so deep into the stories.
The way O’Farrell writes makes you feel as if you are there with Lexie. Sitting beside her. Staring at her red scarf, then looking away to see who’s just walked into the random Soho cafe. Having a cigarette with her, watching her blow smoke into the thick air. Observing the buttons on her blouse, the colour of her hair. When you put the book down you can still hear the London traffic and smell the musky air of the 1950s. The style is just so atmospheric.
It also tackles themes (though subtly- you don’t feel it as you read it which is why it’s so fantastic) such as Love, Trust and Motherhood. And such honest portrayls of each. O’Farrell doesn’t write a pretty-picture story,she just tells it the way it is.
The characters are real people. The locations are real locations- the only thing fabricated is the wonderful story and lives of these people you will grow to love so much. If you want to travel back into time- and really feel something, read this. I highly reccomend it.