Monday 4 December 2017

Glasfurd, Guinevere "The Words in my Hand"

Glasfurd, Guinevere "The Words in my Hand" - 2016

A novel about the mother of René Descartes' daughter, a Dutch maid in the 17th century. Not badly written but also not really that challenging. I may have read too many books about this time so that there wasn't much that was new to me or it might just not have been the goal of the author to tell us about that kind of topic.

In any case, I didn't enjoy this very much. I meant to suggest it to my book club because we always look for stories about the Netherlands, contemporary or historical, but I know a few better ones that gives us more to talk about.

From the back cover:
"The Words in My Hand is the reimagined true story of Helena Jans, a Dutch maid in 17th century Amsterdam working for an English bookseller. One day a mysterious and reclusive lodger arrives - the Monsieur - who turns out to be René Descartes.
At first encounter the maid and the philosopher seem to have little in common, yet Helena yearns for knowledge and literacy - wanting to write so badly that she uses beetroot for ink and her body as paper.
And the philosopher, for all his learning, finds that it is Helena who reveals the surprise in the everyday world that surrounds him, as gradually their relationship deepens in a surprising story of love and learning.


  1. Some of these "reimagined true stories" written lately don't make the mark for me either.

    1. Thanks. I really like researched stories about events and people who lived a long long time ago but they have to be well researched and well written. This just didn't touch me at all.