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Publisher's Summary

Iris Lockhart is busy tending to the everyday business of her vintage clothing shop and her complicated love affairs when she receives a stunning phone call. Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never even knew existed, is being released from a psychiatric hospital where she has been locked away for over 60 years. Esme has been labeled harmless, sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But why has her family never mentioned her, and what is the secret or her virtually wiped-out past? If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?
Weaving Esme's tragic story together with Iris's modern dilemmas, O'Farrell's intricate cross-generational tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the complex longings of women will haunt readers long past its final page.
©2006 Maggie O'Farrell (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews



Nominee, 2008 Audie Award, Fiction
"[A]n intricate, eloquent novel of family malice, longings, and betrayal....O'Farrell maintains a high level of tension throughout, and the conclusion is devastating." (Publishers Weekly)
"O'Farrell's fourth novel brilliantly illustrates her talent for gradually revealing her characters' inner lives....A gripping read with superbly crafted scenes that will blaze in the reader's memory long after the novel is returned to the shelf." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jessica on 06-19-08

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

An amazing book. The many threads come together brilliantly at the end. I found the narration helpful in distinguishing the character's voices; unlike the previous reviewer, I felt that each voice was distinct. Of course, since the printed version supplies no such clues, it puts us a little ahead of the game. The language is both precise and beautiful, the characters fascinating, and the end result stunning.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 11-12-07

a poor recording ruined the experience

This is a complex mystery told from the changing point of view of 3 different characters throughout the course of the book. Sadly the recording makes no pause, no change of voice, and no identification of the character delivering any given portion of the story. The listener can figure it out by paying very careful attention but this would have been an excellent book had it been produced in a way to make the differentiation between the characters clearer.

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13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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