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Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

(P)2020 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

On Sale: 31st March 2020

Price: £19.99

ISBN-13: 9781472223838


Blisteringly brilliant... You'll lap up this intricately told story of grief, love and the bond between twins


Heartstopping. Hamnet does for the Shakespeare story what Jean Rhys did for Jane Eyre, inhabiting, enlarging and enriching it in ways that will alter the reader's view for ever

[A] rich imagining of the lives of Shakespeare's family enchants... O'Farrell's remarkable novel bursts with life

Sunday Telegraph

Stunning. The writing is exquisite, immersive and compelling... deserves to win prizes

A beautiful read. A devastating one. Intricate, and breathtakingly imaginative

Rachel Joyce

Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it

The story of Hamnet Shakespeare has been waiting in the shadows for over four hundred years. Maggie O'Farrell brings it dazzlingly, devastatingly, into the light

A bold undertaking. Beautifully imagined and written

Claire Tomalin

Richly sensuous...something special

Sunday Times

The novel of her career... everyone I know who has managed to get hold of a copy is absolutely in love with it


A staggeringly beautiful and unbearably poignant novel. O'Farrell is one of the most surprisingly quiet radicals in fiction