The Auburn Haired Magician (valca85) wrote in bookish,
The Auburn Haired Magician

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Now this was a good book. It was spellbinding, I found myself unable to put it down which is why I finished it in a day and a half.
The characters are beautifully crafted, solidly grounded, there are no surprises in their behaviors. I understood and sympathized with each of them, even the "bad guys". Never was I left wondering "now where did THAT come from?"
This is a book that looks scrawny, which always deters me. In my experience it's difficult to find a well written, cohesive short novel, but this is certainly one of them.
The ending is fantastic although a tad abrupt. In the case of this book, the abruptness kind of works, jolting us into a reality that, I for one, left behind as soon as I turned to the first page.
Loved it.

5 out of 5 Stars

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