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 Amazon.com)
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. =)