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The Words In My Hand

The Words In My Hand

Author(s): Guinevere Glasfurd

Location(s): Amsterdam

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 17th Century



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

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Lead Review

Amsterdam flourishes under the penmanship of this author. A beautifully told romance in the heart of the city.

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Lead Review

Author: tripfiction

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...

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