It’s the first Saturday of the month so that means it’s #6degrees of separation time! This month’s starting book is the winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.
You can find the details and rules of the #6degrees meme at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, but in a nutshell, on the first Saturday of every month, everyone has the same starting book and from there, you connect in a variety of ways to other books. Some of the connections made are so impressive, it’s a lot of fun to follow.
I read Hamnet last year when it first came out and I really loved it. It’s one of those novels I would recommend to everyone. It’s lovely to start a new year of six degrees, not only with a book I have read, but with one I enjoyed so much. However, turns out having read the books doesn’t necessarily make for an easier chain!
My first link is a rather obvious one, but I’m going there anyway. Hamnet is the fictional story of the creation of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. From here, I’m cruising over to Ophelia by Jackie French. Jackie has written a fantastic series of novels that are reinterpretations of Shakespeare’s most well known/popular plays, all from a female perspective. While I was searching for a book cover image for Ophelia, I came across this upcoming late 2021 release, The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey. The description for this sounds very intriguing. It’s caught my eye also because the author, Jane Healey, wrote The Animals of Lockwood Manor, released last year. I enjoyed that book so I’ll likely be reading this one. The Animals of Lockwood Manor had a Kate Morton atmospheric vibe to it and that’s always a selling point for me. I have enjoyed all of Kate’s novels, but my favourite remains The Shifting Fog, which was her first. Truthfully, any novel, particularly historical fiction that orbits around an old manor house is a winner for me. Which brings me to my final connection, which I’m making based on the whole gothic/history/manor link: Jane Eyre, one of the best in its class. Nothing to do with Hamnet though!