Review: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

Good Evening All,

It’s been a hot second since I’ve last posted as I’ve had an absolutely manic two weeks. Lots of events all came at once, mixed in with work and general life, I didn’t have a moment to sit still and do anything. What I did manage to do is get The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell started and finished (though over a considerable amount of time).

Iris Lockhart receives a call out of the blue to inform her that her Great Aunt Esme is to be released from Cauldstone Hospital after sixty years of residence. Iris had always been told that her Grandma was an only child therefore this comes as quite a surprise. When confronted with the evidence, Iris is unable to abandon her long lost Great Aunt and decides to help in any way that she is able. What Iris isn’t prepared for are the secrets that come along with Esme.

This was my first Maggie O’Farrell book and following different things I’ve read online, I was expecting big drama and big tugs on my heart strings. The subject matter of this book is sensitive and there were times when I had a little throat lump, but I have to admit, I wanted more. I wanted to feel the pain from all of the characters and try to understand their journeys. Which leads me on to the characters…

I struggled with the characters. I don’t feel like I made a connection with any of them. I don’t mean that I didn’t like any of them, more that I didn’t “get” any of them. I didn’t understand the need for Luke’s character. I’m not quite sure what he added to the story and why that thread of the story was included.

Finally, I couldn’t keep up with the flow of the writing as the narrative jumps between characters, timelines and subjects often. The difficulty came for me because there were no page breaks or indicators to give me the nod to almost say “we’ve moved on now”, so I spent a huge chunk of this book confused about what I was reading.

I’m so disappointed that I didn’t get along with this book. Reading the Goodreads synopsis I honestly thought this would be right up my street. I’d be really interested in hearing from anyone else that’s read this and share your thoughts.


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