books of the month debuts of the month
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd
  

The Words in My Hand

Literary Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Lovereading view...

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016.

January 2016 Debut of the Month.

A gloriously readable and emotional fictional tale based on the relationship between Dutch maid Helena Jans van der Strom and philosopher, mathematician and scientist Rene Descartes, in 17th century Amsterdam. Helena tells her own story, and we have intimate access to her thoughts and feelings as she learns the magic of words, writing and thinking beyond the obvious. It feels as though Guinevere Glasfurd has seen into the heart and soul of Helena, as though this really could be her story. The author also has the gift of shaping the outside world, of painting a vivid picture of life in these times. Sending thoughts skittering down unexpected paths and opening up the world of Descartes, ‘The Words In My Hand’ is a truly lovely and captivating debut. ~ Liz Robinson

Costa judges comment: “Glasfurd brings the 17th century Netherlands to vivid life in this sensitive, compelling tale of love and loss.”

Synopsis

The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd

'17th-century Amsterdam sparkles into life in this delightful, playful and beautifully written debut. I loved it!' Rachel Hore, bestselling author of A Week In Paris 'Guinevere Glasfurd's writing is fresh and elegant. I loved the subject and the way she brings Amsterdam in the 1600s into vivid, believable life. A lovely book' Dinah Jefferies, bestselling author of The Tea Planter's Wife The Words in My Hand is the reimagined true story of Helena Jans, a Dutch maid in 17th-century Amsterdam, who works for Mr Sergeant the English bookseller. When a mysterious and reclusive lodger arrives - the Monsieur - Mr Sergeant insists everything must be just so. It transpires that the Monsieur is Rene Descartes. This is Helena's story: the woman in front of Descartes, a young woman who yearns for knowledge, who wants to write so badly she makes ink from beetroot and writes in secret on her skin - only to be held back by her position in society. Weaving together the story of Descartes' quest for reason with Helena's struggle for literacy, their worlds overlap as their feelings deepen; yet remain sharply divided. For all Descartes' learning, it is Helena he seeks out as she reveals the surprise in the everyday world that surrounds him. When reputation is everything and with so much to lose, some truths must remain hidden. Helena and Descartes face a terrible tragedy and ultimately have to decide if their love is possible at all.

Reviews

'17th-century Amsterdam sparkles into life in this delightful, playful and beautifully written debut. I loved it!' Rachel Hore, bestselling author of A WEEK IN PARIS

'Guinevere Glasfurd's writing is fresh and elegant. I loved the subject and the way she brings Amsterdam in the 1600s into vivid, believable life. A lovely book.' Dinah Jefferies, bestselling author of THE TEA PLANTER'S WIFE

About the Author

Guinevere Glasfurd

Guinevere Glasfurd's short fiction has appeared in Mslexia, the Scotsman and in a collection from The National Galleries of Scotland. The Words In My Hand, her first novel, was written with the support of a grant from Arts Council England. She manages the Words and Women Twitter feed, a voluntary organisation representing women writers in the East of England and can be found online at guinevereglasfurd.com and @guingb.

Author photo © Stefano Masse

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

14th January 2016

Author

Guinevere Glasfurd

More books by Guinevere Glasfurd
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

guinevereglasfurd.com/
Loading twitter updates...

Publisher

Two Roads an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division

Format

Hardback

Categories

Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites


ISBN

9781473617858

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

Lovereading is an amazing place to be, the website is wonderful and to me if I'm sad I'll go here and it cheers me up!

Sophia Upton

Lovereading always comes up with great suggestions and has introduced me to enjoyable books and new authors to discover.

Gaynor Passmore

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies

It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools