• Type: Ebooks
  • By: Maggie O'Farrell
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Recommended by: Thais R.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780525657613
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A novel of the plague and so much more

Agnes grew up as a child of the woods, falls in love with her brothers' Latin tutor, gets married and  moves into town. She's the type of woman who can go into the woods to give birth all alone and pull it off. She is a skilled herbalist and healer, and even though no one else sees the potential in her husband and he's prone to moody depression she knows he is something special. It's there, just simmering beneath the surface. This story is mainly from the writer's imagination, as the details surrounding Shakespeare's life are so sparsely known. But I loved the idea that Agnes (or Anne as she is more commonly known) was brilliant and an intellectual match for her famous husband. It's the story of a marriage and a family, and the unmatched grief of losing a child. 
This was one of three works of historical fiction I read in 2020 to lean in to the pandemic theme, the others being Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, also about the plague, and The Pull of Stars by Emma Donoghue, about the flu of 1918. Hamnet was my favorite, but probably only because I loved the character of Agnes so much, and because it is fascinating to think about how prominent the plague was in Shakespeare's world, yet it is completely absent from his writing.