#6Degrees of Separation: From Hamnet to A Messy Affair

It’s the first Saturday of the month – and of a New Year – which means it’s time for 6 Degrees of Separation!

Here’s how it works: a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Kate says: Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees

This month’s starting book is the award-winning Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell which depicts the impact of a bereavement on the Shakespeare family.

Imperfect Alchemist by Naomi Miller is a fictionalised account of the life of Mary Sidney whose literary circle included William Shakespeare, as well as other playwrights and poets of the period.

Staying with the world of the theatre Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor features the relationship – on and off stage – between Bram Stoker and actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.

Ellen Terry made her American debut in 1883 playing Queen Henrietta opposite Sir Henry Irving in the play Charles I.  In The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn, published on 7th January, the character of Nat Davy is inspired by the life of Jeffrey Hudson who served as court dwarf to Queen Henrietta. In the book, Nat is brought to court by the wily Duke of Buckingham.

Buckingham also appears in The Honey and the Sting by E.C. Fremantle in which he pursues three sisters in an effort to gain custody of his illegitimate son.

The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis also features three sisters, in this case the Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne. In the author’s imagination, before they found fame as writers, the sisters were lady ‘detectors’ investigating crimes in and around their native Yorkshire.

Another character who combines her usual occupation with the role of detective is Hungarian cleaner Lena Szarka in A Messy Affair by Elisabeth Mundy, the third in the author’s mystery series.

This month’s chain has taken me from Shakespearean times, including a brush with royalty, to present day London via the Yorkshire moors. Where did your chain take you?

Where did your chain take you this month?

9 thoughts on “#6Degrees of Separation: From Hamnet to A Messy Affair

  1. Oh my goodness! What a great and interesting chain. That is really clever of you. Well done!

    Mine is extremely boring this month and I just went with the first letter, first title theme.

    Happy New Year!

    Elza Reads


  2. Great chain and some very attractive covers! I am putting some of these on my TBR, including the Hungarian cleaner as I am 1/4 Hungarian. Not much of a cleaner, alas, too easy to procrastinate with a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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