The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Book - 2007
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In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend's attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital--where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years.

Iris's grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme's papers prove she is Kitty's sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme's face. 

Esme has been labeled harmless--sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But she's still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?

A gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt you long past its final page.
Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, c2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780151014118
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 22 cm.


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Feb 27, 2020

I wish there were a print copy of this book available. I'm old fashioned that way, I guess.

Oct 10, 2019

I am very glad that I was introduced to this author, plus, I like women's fiction. This is a very sad story about Esme Lennox. To this day, I cannot understand why she was hated so much by her own family. Wow! Still blows me away.

Aug 27, 2018

I'm probably the only reviewer to assign this book a mere 2 stars. Once again, I'm at odds with the vast majority. Sorry, folks, I just could not warm up to this novel.
The basic premise is very intriguing and contains the bones of a great story but somehow it never really came together. The motivations of the main characters are difficult to understand and seem inconsistent. Even Iris, the best of the lot, seemed to lose her way at times. The sheer odiousness of some of the other characters ( who were needed to fill in the gaps) didn't help. Many commentators have praised O'Farrell's language; regrettably, that didn't really work for me either. Too cute and for me bordering on pretentious. I fear my ear for language and style has recently been spoiled by reading several of Kent Haruf's down-to-earth books with their plain language and total lack of ornamentation.
There were moments during my reading when I suspected O'Farrell was channeling Virginia Woolf and not succeeding.
I note that there seem to be very few male readers commenting on the book, which raises the uncomfortable question of whether it is the sort of thing that will appeal only to women. I detest the idea of classifying any book as "chick lit" (insulting term!) but the facts remain .....

Mar 21, 2018

Beautiful and tragic. I read it in one sitting, unable to look away.

CRRL_MegRaymond Oct 09, 2017

Iris gets a stunning phone call - she has a great-aunt named Esme, and Esme is being released from a mental hospital after sixty-one years - can Iris take her in?

Aug 09, 2016

Great ending. I'm not crazy about the author's writing style.

Jun 21, 2016

Thoroughly enjoyable. Quick easy but "stays with you" read.

Nov 18, 2015

Extremely well written! I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend!

Feb 10, 2015

I really enjoyed this book. It highlighted the plight of those confined to asylums as a matter of convenience and misdiagnosis. At the same time, this historical information was interwoven into a great story which told of the jealousies, loyalties, expectations and disappointments between siblings. I will be reading more of Maggie O'Farrell.

Dec 12, 2014

Sad and twisted, a scrumptious read. As the story unfolds, past truths are revealed, and it gets darker. The ending shocked me, I had to read the last couple of pages twice because it caught me off guard. Really enjoyed my time with this book!

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