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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox


The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Cover

ISBN13: 9780156033671
ISBN10: 0156033674
Condition: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

tinamwriter, August 7, 2012 (view all comments by tinamwriter)
After reading this book for a book club I was amazed at the response. It has become one of our favorite books. The writing and style is intriguing. At a time when many are looking at finding residency for their elders and family members this is a odd reaction.
How would you feel if suddenly you were told that you had an Aunt, no one ever told you about, that was alive and had been living a an asylum? Then to find out that there is a very disturbing reason she was put there. She wanted more than what society demanded of a woman in those days. To step out of the rut, to buck the system and fight for your right as a woman was intolerable and she was sent to an asylum.
That of course is not the end of the story. As you are transported between the present and the past you cannot put the book down. It gains momentum and the short tale leaves you in an animated state of wanting to share your thoughts.
It isn't a long book but it is one that will be passed along to your fellow reading friends.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
emmejo, July 19, 2010 (view all comments by emmejo)
When she was 16 Esme Lennox was placed in a psychiatric hospital. Over time and generations she stayed there, forgotten by all but her sister, who now suffers from Alzheimer's and can't properly communicate with anyone anymore.

But when the hospital closes Esme has to be moved, and Iris is contacted. Suddenly she is responsible for a Great-Aunt she never knew she had, and who is regarded as crazy, although not a danger to others.

I read and finished this the day I got it. I was just going to read a few pages and see what it was like, but I simply couldn't put it down! The characters are very well-constructed and full of little details that make them come alive. Every now and then the wildly changing viewpoints and skewed memories threw me for a loop, and a quick re-read was needed, but I enjoy a book that it takes brain power to keep up with. The plot is not very elaborate, but it has a simple beauty to it.

I highly enjoyed this book, and definitely recommend it to readers who like strong characters and lifelike character interaction.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Stephanie Patterson, June 24, 2008 (view all comments by Stephanie Patterson)
Iris, a woman struggling with her own business and a complicated personal life, is stunned when she gets a call from the local asylum telling her that her aunt Esme is about to be released after 61 years of confinement. Her grandmother, Kitty, beclouded by Alzheimers and living in a nursing home, has always portrayed herself as an only child.
The story of what happens when Iris and Esme meet and what they both learn about the past and the present is beautifully and compellingly told.
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(7 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Ofarrell, Maggie
Harvest Books
O'Farrell, Maggie
Historical - General
Family secrets
Domestic fiction
Psychological fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.31 in 0.54 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Used Trade Paper
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$4.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156033671 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" is a haunting look into one woman's tragic past.
"Synopsis" by ,
In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriends 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.

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

"Synopsis" by , Maggie O'Farrell's captivating and critically acclaimed gothic tale of family secrets and the irrepressible freedom that truth brings


Chic and independent, Iris Lockhart is tending to her vintage-clothing shop in Edinburgh (and evading her married boyfriend) when she 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 years. Iriss grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esmes papers prove she is Kittys sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her father in Esmes 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 hidden away who will surely bring secrets with her when she leaves the ward. Moving expertly among the voices of Iris, Kitty, and Esme herself, Maggie O'Farrell reveals the story of Esme's tragic and haunting absence.

"Synopsis" by ,

"This haunting and extraordinarily engrossing novel--part gothic mystery, part tangled family drama--reminded me why I love reading in the first place: it's because a well-written book has the power to carry us away to a place we've never been but always suspected was there." — Carolyn Parkhurst, author of THE DOGS OF BABEL

"I found this actually unputdownable, written with charge and energy and a kind of compelling drive, a clarity and a gripping dramatic insidiousness reminiscent of classic writers like Rebecca West and Daphne Du Maurier." --Ali Smith, author of Hotel World and The Accidental

"Prickly, disturbing and delicious, a novel to gulp in a single sitting." — The Observer

"Like Sarah Waters or Douglas Kennedy [O’Farrell] displays a gift for storytelling that makes her novels almost ridiculously pleasurable to read." – The London Times

"Beneath the cool Edwardian detail of this elegantly written book lie the horrors of a Gothic novel." — The Guardian

"I would like to think that families only behave this way in books, but unfortunately betrayal, jealousy, and secrets are all too common in real life. It was a terrific book, I will be thinking about it for a long time." — Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife

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