NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
“Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life ... here is a novel ... so gorgeously written that it transports you." —The Boston Globe
England, 1580: The Black Death creeps across the land, an ever-present threat, infecting the healthy, the sick, the old and the young alike. The end of days is near, but life always goes on. A young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon, she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is just taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.
Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, Maggie O’Farrell grew up in Wales and Scotland. She is the author of eight novels: After You’d Gone (winner of the Betty Trask Award); My Lover’s Lover; The Distance Between Us (recipient of a Somerset Maugham Award); The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; The Hand That First Held Mine (winner of the Costa Book Award); Instructions for a Heatwave; This Must Be the Place; and Hamnet, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also written a memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, and a picture book for children, Where Snow Angels Go. She lives in Edinburgh.