The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd

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The Words in My Hand Read Online Free - '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 René 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.

Title : The Words in My Hand
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1473617855
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 432 pages


Amalia rated it ★★★★★

July 21, 2017

‘’Didn’t they know I had used the last of my paper on this work? The new paper I wanted, bought with money I’d never have, blew about my head, tumbling like leaves in a gale. I saw birds, caught in the storm, taken higher and higher, quills blown to the top of the sky.’’ In one of my recent revi...

Marita rated it ★★★☆☆

August 04, 2017

The Words in my Hand is a fictitious account of the real life relationship between French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) and a housemaid named Helena Jans van der Strom. René Descartes (Wikipedia) Forced by circumstances to seek work, Helena sets off for Amsterdam in the hope of finding emp...

Helene Jeppesen rated it ★★★☆☆

June 24, 2016

After having finished this book, I am left somewhat confused. This is a historical novel based on René Descartes and his secret love affair with a woman named Helena. It is set in The Netherlands, and the first half of the novel was beautiful. The tension between Helena and Descartes was nicely d...

Chrissie rated it ★★★☆☆

August 14, 2017

The beginning description of Amsterdam was truly lovely. Description of the other Dutch cities (Deventer, Leiden and Santpoort) fall short. I am not convinced that the author has correctly drawn the relationship between René Descartes and Helena Jans van der Strom. We know that in the year 1634 s...

Myriam rated it ★★★★★

October 24, 2016

Ma chronique : Magnifique et bouleversant, ce roman revient sur la mystérieuse idylle entre Descartes et une jeune servante hollandaise. J'ai été prise dans un tourbillon d'émotions à la lecture de ce livre, qui m'aura beaucoup rappelé Une Vie de Maupassant...

Pilar rated it ★★★★★

September 22, 2017

Maravilloso, de verdad. Es de lo mejorcito que he leído en los últimos tiempos. El libro está narrado en primera persona por Helena, que es la protagonista absoluta de la obra, una simple doncella en el siglo XVII que sabe lo que la lectura y la escritura pueden cambiar el mundo, el de las mujere...

Konstantin rated it ★★★★☆

January 08, 2018

4.5 zvezdice

Tripfiction rated it ★★★★☆

February 11, 2017

Tripping back in time to early 17th Century NETHERLANDS I had been eyeing this novel up for a while, having been drawn to the fetching cover of the hardback edition. My interest was further piqued when it was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016. It is a story based on the relationship...

Diane rated it ★★★★★

February 03, 2016

I was lucky enough to receive this as an ARC through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review, but I would happily have paid for it. This book interested me because of its fictional telling of a period in the life of Rene Descartes. As someone with a philosophy degree and a massive fan of Desc...

Lolly K Dandeneau rated it ★★★☆☆

December 11, 2015

This is the story of Helena Jans and her love with René Descartes. That in itself makes it an interesting read, with the time period written about beautifully- I felt I was there. Anyone can understand Helena's hunger for more, for her passions but we live in a different time (world) therefore, r...

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