The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Book - 2006
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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, [2006], ©2006
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780151014118
0151014116
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ofa
Description: 245 pages ; 22 cm

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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?


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wyenotgo
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 .....

u
Urbano
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?

h
hildesanders
Aug 09, 2016

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

k
KathyS82
Jun 21, 2016

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

k
KatLynR
Jun 07, 2016

This book made me an instant fan of Maggie O'Farrell's works. I have since read her entire catalogue and was never disappointed. Eager to read anything else she publishes.

f
fionathehun
Nov 18, 2015

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

g
Gabbiefilby
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.

k
kristikaye
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!

c
campingmomma
Mar 06, 2014

I don't know what I was doing when this book came out, but boy did I miss a good one! This is the story of Iris a single young woman who possibly is in love with her step brother (just as an aside). Iris is contacted by an insane asylum regarding the release of a great aunt, Esme, Iris never even knew existed. The story goes back and forth beautifully between the childhood of Esme and Kitty (Iris' grandmother who is in a nursing home for Alzheimer's) and the present life of the three women. At first it was a bit confusing to figure out who was "talking" when as there are no different fonts to distinguish the storytellers, but you quickly figure out who's point of view the story is coming from.
I read this book in less than 24 hours, a new record for me as I am a slow reader, but I just could not put this down. The writing was superb! The author really kept you engaged throughout the story. There is scandal, mystery, twists and turns to be had.

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