In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’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 sixty-one years.

Iris’s grandmother Kitty had 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?

A gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt you long past its final page.

Maggie O’Farrell
doublevision

Maggie O’Farrell is the author of three previous novels, including her acclaimed debut, After You’d Gone. Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, Maggie grew up in Wales and Scotland. She has worked as a waitress, chambermaid, cycle courier, teacher, arts administrator, and journalist—both in Hong Kong and as the deputy literary editor of the Independent on Sunday (London). She now lives in Edinburgh.