Thursday, September 27, 2012

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

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.

My take: 3 looks
I didn't like this book at all in the beginning. I felt that it was fragmented and disjointed, reading like a person watching action with little to no understanding of the inner workings of the characters themselves.

However, once I gave myself over to the book, reading story and getting to know the characters, I realized that the writing style became more complicated as the story itself did so. Beautifully written, I was invited inside these people, growing up with them and seeing through their eyes what they saw and felt. I could feel the green satin and the father's slap across his teenage daughter's face.

The one thing from keeping me from giving this book 4 looks was the unbelievably incestuous relationship of Iris and Alex. Instead of being glad they came to grips with their feelings for one another, I was repulsed by the electricity between them. The book would have been so much richer with that distracting story line left on the editor's floor.

This book was heartbreaking, real and had the most bittersweet ending I have read in a long time.


No comments:

Post a Comment