The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

This book was the closest I have come to finishing a book in one sitting in quite a while. The story has strong tendrils that reach out and draw you in like one of those venus flytrap plants. I use such a morbid comparison because of the ending. I would have given it four stars if the ending had been more concrete.

To be fair the book makes no claims to be any but ‘that kind’ of book. The narration swings between the three women involved in the story with only the content to give us a hint as to who is currently revealing information. If the ending let me leave behind the tale as a chapter closed I would have been much happier.

I have always enjoyed happy endings in books and if you fall under the same category, this book should not be at the top of your reading list but is definitely worth a read all the same.

The story is mostly of Esme who has a mind that does not conform to the usual standard of living in the colonial era in India ( to be truthful anywhere in the world at the time) . Trauma causes her to crack without anyone ever questioning the reason since she is a ‘difficult’ child. We fast forward sixty plus years to when Iris ( the protagonist of this century) finds out about her existence unexpectedly. There are many questions that can be raised in reading this book which might fuel any reading group’s evening.

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