Goodreads Monday: Hamnet

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our Goodreads To Be Read list and share it with the world. It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners, so be sure to link back to her site so that we can all see what everyone plans to read!



by Maggie O’Farrell
Historical Fiction
384 pages
Published March 31, 2020 by Tinder Press

From Goodreads: 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.


I’ve had my eye on this one since I first heard about it. A Tudor-era historical fiction about Shakespeare’s family? Yes, I will look into that. Since then, it’s been shortlisted for the 2020 women’s prize, and a reviewer I trust gave it a glowing review today, so I will definitely be looking into this one.

3 thoughts on “Goodreads Monday: Hamnet

  1. This appeals to me, as well. I like that the focus is on Agnes and William isn’t mentioned by name at all in this synopsis. He’s definitely there, but the implication that he is lesser makes me smile. I don’t know anything about the origins of Hamlet… is this based in well-researched history, do you know?

  2. As far as I know, it’s well-researched. Or as well-researched as a middle-class family of the late Elizabethan era can be. The quotes I’ve seen from it are lovely. They remind me of Hilary Mantel’s work,

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