Hamnet [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is my compelling and poignant literary fiction selection for #throwbackthursday.

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: portrait of a young boy in a felt hat....a quill lies horizontally over his eyes

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Literary Fiction, Family Life, Mothers and Children, Grief, Magical Realism, 1500s England

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing poignant and emotional literary fiction title, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. In my reading experience,

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Do you read Literary Fiction? It is challenging to describe or define and definitions vary. I define it this way:

The focus of literary fiction is on the craft of writing, social observations, and the meaning of life; it’s heavily character-driven with the action being internal; it’s not genre fiction. 

My Summary of Hamnet:

Hamnet is set in 1580s Warwickshire, England and is the highly imagined story of William Shakespeare’s family and his wife, Agnes (Anne). This is a poignant and emotional story focused on marriage and family. Shakespeare and Agnes have three children, and we know from history that Hamnet dies. In this story of a mother’s grief, O’Farrell imagines that the 1550s plague is the cause of his death. You might be surprised that William Shakespeare is “off-stage” for the majority of the story and is never mentioned by name (referred to as husband, father, etc.). As a result, Agnes is centered as the main character of the story, and a mother’s grief is the main theme. A beautiful woman, Agnes exhibits some supernatural gifts of healing with herbs, is entirely devoted to family, and frequently experiences glimpses into the future.

Content Consideration: the death of a child

Continue here for my full review of Hamnet…


Have you read a book by Maggie O’Farrell?


  1. I just finished reading Hamnet which I thought was excellent, previously I had read her memoir I Am, I Am, I Am, Seventeen Brushes With Death which was an intriguing read that I also really enjoyed. I’d love to read her latest set in Renaissance Italy!

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