Published Jan 2010
Fresh out of university and in disgrace, Lexie Sinclair is waiting for life to begin. When the bohemian, sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance on her doorstep in rural Devon, she realises that she can wait no longer, and leaves the next day for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, Lexie carves out a life for herself without regard for convention. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. As Elina struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with the sense of herself as an artist, Ted finds himself disturbed by memories of his own childhood – memories that don’t tally with his parent’s version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed: separated by fifty years, Lexie and Elina are connected in ways that neither of them could ever have expected. The Hand That First Held Mine is Maggie O’Farrell’s richest and most rewarding book to date: a tour de force from one of our most acclaimed and best-loved novelists.