Hamnet is the only son of William and Agnes Shakespeare. He died at the age of eleven for the plague. Although his name is the title of O’Farrell’s novel, the central character is Agnes. She was three months pregnant with her first child when she married Shakespeare and went to live at his parents’ home in Stratford. Hamnet is the story of Agnes and her family. It is a tale of love, marriage, family and grief.
Hamnet is a beautifully written, vividly described novel with empathetic, complex characters. It is a masterfully done work of historical fiction.