Novel set in Shakespeare’s Stratford
Enter the Shakespeare world of Hamnet
What if you could go back in time and visit Shakespeare. Find out why he wrote the play Hamlet. Discover what his life was like at home. Really get under the skin of the greatest playright of all time.
Well…… Maggie O’Farrell has made this all possible…..
Setting – The Stratford of Shakespeare
A novel to place you in the heart of Shakespeare’s Stratford and life
I’m always wary of reading books where authors imagine the story behind a real event/character or rewrite a story told many times before. Will they spoil my imagined story or tell a story told so many times before? Well, my worries were unfounded with Hamnet as I was drawn in to the story of Shakespeare’s son. I loved Shakespeare at school but have only dipped in and out since. I’ve been to Stratford a few times to see the house and this really helped me visualise this story.
O’Farrell did two things I really liked with this story. She took a story that is little known and put the son and Shakespeare’s wife at the focal point of it all. Shakespeare himself isn’t actually named in the whole book. This is very effective as the reader’s focus is quite clearly then on Hamnet himself. We are also reminded that Shakespeare was more than just a playright – he had the same family issues and worries we all have. Putting the wife and family at the heart of this story makes them stand out and have their voices heard.
The story of Hamnet is a fascinating one. I did find the non-linear plot a bit confusing at first. However, overall, the story of grief was and the true behind the scenes look at a family of a famous man was what this novel achieved well for me. The setting, time and place were richly imagined but the story of one of the most famous plays and families in the world was a literary experience I enjoyed.