The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox


I had never read a Maggie O’Farrell book before. I had heard fantastic reviews of her earlier books, The Distance Between Us and After You’d Gone, but I tend to avoid a book that makes me cry! The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox intrigued me when I picked it up from a local cafe’s book swap section. I took it home and immediately started to read.

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.

This is such a beautifully written and haunting novel, full of family secrets and unexpected developments. Maggie O’Farrell writes exquisitely, drawing you into the narratives of both modern day Iris and 1930s Esme. Her characters are so wonderfully written, it’s hard not to fall in love with Esme. And to be devastated at the life she had stolen from her.

Another of my favourites. It left me reeling long after I’d finished it, one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read and I now wait with great anticipation of her next novel.

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