• The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

  • By: Maggie O'Farrell
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,909 ratings)

Try our newest plan – access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Buy for $17.47

Buy for $17.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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.

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)

What listeners say about The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    818
  • 4 Stars
    584
  • 3 Stars
    358
  • 2 Stars
    100
  • 1 Stars
    49
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    949
  • 4 Stars
    413
  • 3 Stars
    225
  • 2 Stars
    56
  • 1 Stars
    42
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    757
  • 4 Stars
    484
  • 3 Stars
    299
  • 2 Stars
    94
  • 1 Stars
    46

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What can I say

It took some getting into. But then I couldn't stop, and when finished I had to read again.
Recommended to me, and I have given as a gift and recommeneded to friends.
Can be as deep as you want, you think you have it, then it all changes.
To me a good book is if you think about it afterwards. I can't stop thinking about Esme.
I do have a different slant on the outcome than my friends but its how you look at it.
Wonderful will be searching for more Maggie O'Farrell.
Persevere if confused at the start. It all fits into place.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

engaging story

Unlike other reviewers, I had no problem at all telling which characters were telling the story at which points. Although there is no voice differentiation, the context immediately gives you clues as to whom is speaking. The story was engaging and kept me interested until the end.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Captivating read, with a warning

If you are upset by violence, maybe give this one a miss.

Story was enthralling though, and surprising.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Haunting

This story stuck with me - a cautionary tale of what can happen to the "odd" child in a family full of secrets and betrayals.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing ending

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I enjoyed the storyline and the narration was quite good, but found the end very disappointing.

What was most disappointing about Maggie O'Farrell’s story?

The end was quite abrupt

What aspect of Anne Flosnik’s performance would you have changed?

Nothing

Could you see The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Wasted 11 hours of my life.

I tried my darnest to pay attention to this story. It jumped around so much II found myself rewinding and rewinding and rewinding and rewinding to keep up.. I expected to finish to be something
worthy of the time I had invested . And it was not the case.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really have to pay attention but great story.

The story goes back and forward in time but there's no way to know for sure so you really have to pay attention. and from the different characters as well. but the story line was truly a surprise! kept me wondering what happened until i figured it out and blew my mind.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Still not sure

The storyline is very interesting and intriguing. The actual story itself is very confusing to follow from inner monologue to flashbacks to present day and ... who the hell is talking at each moment?. I understand that the author meant for there to be some level of mystery to each character but it was so baffling the I had to keep rewinding so many times just to figure what was happening. There was no giveaway from the author either. All of the voices of the female characters sounded exactly the same.
On the upside, it was entertaining at times to listen to the rantings of a demented woman with a limited attention span.
Very disappointed with the ending... completely left hanging. I think the author forgot to write the last two chapters.

1 person found this helpful