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.
Haunting is the right word for this book! I couldn’t put it down, there were no chapters in it so I didn’t know when to stop:) Actually I just couldn’t put it down. The end left me speechless. I don’t want to tell you anything about the story. I want it to unfold for you as you turn the pages. I read a review that gave me way too many spoilers and I wish I had started it with a clean slate.
Read it, let me know what you thought.
‘The haunting final pages are among the finest O’Farrell has ever written.’
from the author’s website
This book is compared to Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
And it counts for the Read Scotland challenge as Ms. O’Farrell is Scottish by immigration and the book takes place in Edinburgh.