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The hand that first held mine
Maggie O'Farrell
Adult Fiction O'FARRE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

O'Farrell (The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox) interweaves two seemingly unconnected stories-that of Lexie Sinclair, living in post-WWII London, and Elina Vilkuna, a denizen of present-day London. Lexie is a rebellious 21-year-old, and when she meets handsome and sophisticated Innes Kent, she realizes he's the one who can help her find the adventure and excitement she craves. Their affair coincides with her moving up in the ranks at the magazine he edits, but a tragedy changes Lexie's life forever. Fifty-odd years later, Elina, a painter, faces her own struggles: she recently had a son with her boyfriend, Ted, and, after a rough child-birth, Ted and Elina struggle to recalibrate their relationship as it evolves into parenthood. While O'Farrell brings Lexie to life, she does not achieve the same with Elina and Ted, who come across as just another bland couple facing the challenges of having a child. The two plots are, naturally, connected, but the contemporary plot doesn't really get moving until too late in the book. If the contemporary storyline was developed half as well as the historical plot, this would be a wonderful book. As it is, it feels lighter than it should. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Lexie Sinclair moves from the Cornwall area to post-World War II London and begins a thrilling new life under the tutelage of her lover, Innes Kent, an editor and art collector. Even the eventual knowledge that he is legally married doesn't alter her allegiance to him, and she becomes the mother of his son, as well as a respected art critic. In between chapters about Lexie and Innes, readers meet contemporary London artist Elina, who lives with her boyfriend Ted. They have just had a son together, and Elina, who almost died in childbirth, is housebound during her recovery. Growing into his new role as a father, Ted suffers confusing flashbacks about his own childhood. Gradually, a trail of connection between these two nontraditional families is revealed. Devious acts have been committed, darkly affecting these innocent, decent, and well-developed characters. Verdict O'Farrell brings to mind Sue Miller but with a British and darker flavor; her sure hand for psychological suspense (The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox) continues to be most impressive. [ALA Midwinter promotion.]-Keddy Ann Outlaw, formerly with Harris Cty. P.L., Houston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lexie Sinclair
Age: 21
Rebellious; searches for adventure; begins having an affair with Innes; begins to climb the ranks at work;.

Elina Vilkuna
Painter; has a son with her boyfriend; prepares for parenthood.

Innes Kent
Handsome; owns a magazine Lexie works at;.

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