The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
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Houghton
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 Hospitalwhere 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 harmlesssane 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.


Baker & Taylor
Iris Lockhart is stunned when she receives news that her great-aunt Esme, a previously unknown woman edited out of her family's history, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital, where she has been confined for more than sixty years, and soon discovers that Esme holds the key to long-hidden family secrets that could change her life forever.

Harcourt Publishing
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.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a haunting, multi-generational tale of the horrors done to women in the name of family and under the guise of mental health.  Esme and Kitty were two daughters of privilege who endured a terrible tragedy while their family was in India.  Upon returning to Scotland, they are forced into the claustrophobic nature of high society.  Esme does not take well to this aafter a shocking scene at a ball, she is sent away to a mental institution. There she is completely forgotten and abandoned for sixty years, until the institution is closed and its residents reintegrated into society.  An unsuspecting grand-niece is suddenly Esme's guardian; and Esme brings more than a few family secrets out of the ward when she leaves.  Very much in the vein of our own THE GHOST WRITER, this is creepy Victorian fare for readers of Poe, James, and Daphne DuMaurier or more recently Susanna Clarke, Elizabeth Kostova, and Sarah Waters.


Blackwell North Amer
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.

Baker
& Taylor

Iris Lockhart receives news that her great-aunt Esme is being released from Cauldstone Hospital, where she has been confined for more than sixty years, and soon discovers that Esme holds the key to long-hidden family secrets that could change her life forever.

Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, 2007
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780151014118
0151014116
Branch Call Number: FICTION OFARR...M
Characteristics: 245 pages ; 22 cm

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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.

o
oboechica88
Dec 05, 2013

This was one of my favourite books of the year, and quite possibly of the past decade. Maggie O'Farrell perfected the balance of what to reveal and when, and what to just let peek out. This novel is very dark, and very twisted - as it often is when a novel is written about a family. O'Farrell mastered the effect of knowing just how much the reader really wants to know - after all a book like this doesn't have the same impact if every secret is revealed. It worms its way into your thoughts there and stays there for weeks - maybe even months. I would rank this book as a top 3 contender for books I've read this year, if not THE best book I have read this year. If you liked this, you might enjoy The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield For a full review, head to my blog at OboeChica Books (so long and thanks for all the fish).

f
finn75
Dec 03, 2013

This book had some great twists and was so sad on so many levels. Told from the perspective of a mental hospital detainee, her sister who has alzheimers and a modern young woman caught up in sixty years of betrayal. Well worth a read.

LaBeteNoir Mar 11, 2013

Good story that shows how the past of family (and its secrets) impact the present. Reminded me a little of Joanna Trollope.

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