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The Words in my Hand

by Guinevere Glasfurd

This beautifully written, debut novel tells of Rene Decartes’ relationship with Helena. Atmospheric descriptions of the Netherlands allow the reader to share Helena's joy at being there. She is determined, resilient and brave and her relationship with her daughter, Francine, brings out her sense of fun. Descartes, on the other hand, appears arrogant and aloof except in relation to Francine. Why didn't they marry? Read the novel and find out.

Extract

'I have known great danger at times. I have marched to the front line of wars far from here; have travelled vast distances and seen unspeakable cruelty. Life vanishes in such places; there are times when that is all you wish for - to vanish and never have to see such suffering again. And here we are, in this blessed sanctuary, and you are concerned if I like you? Do you know what happens to people in places like that? Do you have any idea what is done to them? Do you?'

Parallels

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
 

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