• $9.99

Publisher Description

From the New York Times best-selling author of Hamnet comes a gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth…

n the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfirend's attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital––where she has been locked away for more than 61 years.

Iris's grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme's papers prove she is Kitty's sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme's face. Esme has been labeled harmless––sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But she's still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward.

If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit? Exposing the seedy past of Victorian asylums, the oppression of family secrets, and the way truth can change everything, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt you long past its final page...

Fiction & Literature
June 2
HMH Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Customer Reviews

The Dolly Mama ,


Was wonderful until the very rushed ending.

Quill Ward ,

Life is hard enough without reading this downer.

This book is so sad. I kept waiting for some ray of hope to grasp onto, a life affirming turn in the narrative. Dementia, a dead baby, rape, a stolen baby, 60 years forgotten in a institution until it is defunded and she’s turned out. Sorry Esme, the author created you only to experience deep trauma.

kaykaybean13 ,

Amazing story spanning 3 generations of deep harrowing family secrets

Iris gets a call about a great aunt Esme she never knew existed. She’d been locked up in an asylum for over 60 years and it was now closing. They had her name as an executor of her grandmothers welfare who was in an elderly home with Alzheimer’s and Iris was the only family left to make a decision of what to do with her great aunt Esme, whom she’d never been told existed. When the truth is revealed slowly by Esmes recollections and through her sisters Kitty’s, Iris’s grandmother it is absolutely shocking and disturbing and incredibly heartbreaking. A must read!!

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