Friday, August 26, 2011

Maggie O' Farrell's The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

When choosing a fiction novel to read, I would usually veer towards historical or period-era pieces, specifically those centered around the 19 or early 20th century.  Add a twist of mystery -- i.e. those skeletons in the closet types -- and you've definitely have me hooked.

One such book I came across was Maggie O' Farrell's The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

The story centers around the points of view of 3 main characters -- Iris (the granddaughter), Kitty Lockhart (the grandmother), and Esme Lennox (the grand-aunt).

Iris Lockhart is a single woman trapped in a confusing love-related predicament.  Add to her troubles, she suddenly finds herself being appointed the guardian of a grand-aunt, Esme Lennox, whom she didn't even know existed before. 

Apparently her grand-aunt, sister of her grandma Kitty, has been locked away in an asylum for years (since the latter was still in her teens.)  What follows is Iris' quest to try and understand her family's history, trying to uncover their clan's skeletons, while at the same time trying to make sense of her confusing lovelife. (Read the full summary here at

What started out as a very interesting read, quickly turned into a a tedious exercise.  It was quite fascinating to read about Iris' side of the story, but in the end (SPOILER ALERT!!!), Iris never really found out the real reason for her grand-aunt's imprisonment of sorts.  And between you and me, I also didn't quite understand the ending.

Iris, on her side, is still just as confused about her lovelife as when the novel first started, and if my understanding is correct, the only person who got some semblance of closure was Esme.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox was engaging at the start, but the lack of closure for the protagonists was something I didn't exectly relish.

I give this book, 2 out of 5 stars.  =)


  1. Buti ka pa may time to read. Ako naman, lipas na sakin ang magbasa ng books. I just read mostly magazines and newspaper. Hihi.

  2. You reminded me of my pending book reviews. This seems like a disturbing story, the ones that would screw up your mind. I sometimes find them fascinating. Would like to try reading this. :)

  3. @Pink MagaLine: Lucky lang, I guess. Its a good stress reliever din kasi. =)

    @Miss `Chievous: Its not really all that disturbing. The ending just leaves you hanging. Hehehe! =)

  4. unfortunately, some books can fail us miserably with our expectations...


  5. @wendy: I agree. There are just some books that seem so promising when reading the summary. =)

  6. Hi Sis! The Title looks interesting, glad about your review though.. By the way, about the Lego Miniland Philippines, I'm not sure though if the exhibit will still be there. :( Hope to see you on the Blogapalooza! :)

  7. @Des: I was at MOA yesterday. The exhibit ended already. Tsk! Sobrang laki ng paghihinayang ko. I hope they showcase it again somewhere. =)

    Yup. Will be attending Blogapalooza. Hope to meet you there! =)


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