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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (2006)

  1. 20
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Eowyn1)
  2. 20
    The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Very similar in tone and several thematic elements.
  3. 20
    Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers (JenMDB)
  4. 10
    The Yellow Wall-Paper {story} by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Maggie O'Farrell says that The Yellow Wallpaper was a major influence in writng The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
  5. 10
    Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg (amyblue)
  6. 00
    The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers (jm501)
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» See also 274 mentions

English (148)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (2)  All (155)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
In a literary sense there was much to admire about this novel. There is a feeling of spaciousness about it - it isn't cluttered up with unnecessary description or back-story, there is just enough information there for you to work out what is happening, and appreciate the contrast in the degree to which the character Iris is in control of her life and her relationships with the men in her life, and the way in which her aged relative Esme had been treated. Even the text is set out with space between the lines which made for a straightforward reading experience. You can't help but feel a degree of outrage at the treatment of women in the early part of the last century. But it was very much a cerebral experience, not one I'd describe as gripping, or as a page-turner. ( )
  jayne_charles | Dec 1, 2016 |
I liked this alot but the ending bugged me. I wanted more. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
... so I'll be honest, I don't really remember a whole lot of the content of this book, or the plot.

But I was so surprised that I saw it in my recommendations, I thought I'd review it. c:

I remember really liking the tone and atmosphere of this book - I liked that it had a steady plot, that built quite well, quite a slow build but I like that. I thought it was going to be this great mystery, but really, it focused more on characters. I think that's the first time I really read a book focused on characters that I really enjoyed.

I read this when I was a teenager - I found it difficult to actually finish a book, in those days, but I found this book very readable, and read it within a couple of sittings. If you like atmospheric, slightly angsty books, you might like this book! c:

I will give it 3.5 stars. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
Heartbreakingly beautiful writing. A twist I did not see coming but that took my breath away when it arrived. Utterly breathtaking. Big love. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
rate 9/10
  Kait_Kildress | Aug 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Much Madness is divinest Sense--

To a discerning eye--

Much Sense--the starkest Madness--

'Tis the Majority

In this, as All, prevail--

Assent--and you are sane--

Demur--and you're straightaway dangerous--

And handled with a Chain--

Emily Dickinson
I couldn't have my happiness made out of a wrong-- an unfairness-- to somebody else . . . What sort of a life could we build on such foundations?

Edith Wharton
Dedication
for Saul Seamus
First words
Let us begin with two girls at a dance.
Quotations
This girl is remarkable to her. She is a marvel. From all her family – her and Kitty and Hugo and all the other babies and her parents – from all of them, there is only this girl. She is the only one left. They have all narrowed down to this black-haired girl sitting o the sand, who has no idea that her hands and her eyes and the tilt of her head and the fall of her hair belong to Esme's mother. We are all, Esme decides, just vessels through which identities pass: we are lent features, gestures, habits, then we hand them on. Nothing is our own. We begin in the world as anagrams of our antecedents.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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 over sixty 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 Esme’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?

Maggie O’Farrell’s intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth will haunt readers long past its final page.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151014116, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:38 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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. A family member 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?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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