It may be common knowledge for some that Shakespeare’s play Hamlet was named after his son, Hamnet, who died from the plague when he was a child. I didn’t know this, though. So I immediately started the book from a point of learning something new – which is always a delight when reading historical fiction.
From the very first page I continued learning, about Shakespeare’s family and wife (who is not remembered fondly by history, but who is given a voice in this novel), about the plague itself, about the life they lived. The book is very well written, and Maggie O’Farrell has a talent for keeping you captivated and immersed in another time.
The story is well-rounded and we visit the point of view of many characters, giving insight into their way of life. The book is clearly exceptionally well researched. Given the current situation, it was also very interesting to read about the plague and how it affected them. Centuries pass but perhaps not much changes!
I loved this book in the way that I love all beautifully written historical fiction. It is escapism at its finest.
I would rate this a strong 7/10.
I’ve included a link to order below: