I loved The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, but her recent book, The Hand that First Held Mind, is presumably much better, though I have yet to read it. According to critics, this novel marks a shift from O'Farrell as a writer of fiction directed towards women to a writer of literary fiction. It also just won the Costa Award for best novel of the year. As good as it may be, though, it will probably not win the big Costa - the best of the five top categories - as its up against The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, a book I have read and really loved. Read more here.


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