Emily Recommends: The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell

I think of this book is as a “domestic thriller.” In alternating chapters, the author tells the stories of two women, 50 years apart. In the 1950’s, Lexie Sinclair has moved to London to pursue an exciting, bohemian life. She falls hard for Innes Kent, a magazine editor, and becomes an art critic and journalist.
In the present day, Elina gropes for some sense of reality in the first months of montherhood. Weakened by her near-fatal birth experience and a colicky baby, she barely functions. Her boyfriend, Ted, begins to experience strange memory lapses and/or deja-vu episodes.
These alternating chapters and their characters seem at first to share nothing, but as the book progresses, the threads of commonality become dramatically evident. I was grabbed by this lovely book about art, memory, independence and motherhood.