Esme Lennox is eccentric, outspoken and whimsical – a fatal combination for a young woman growing up in the early 20th century. She knows that she is different from other young ladies. While her peers focus all their energies on attracting suitors, Esme just wants to play the piano, continue with her schooling, and enjoy the world around her. When she refuses to comply with her family’s strict expectations, she is shut away in a mental institution and labeled "hysterical". Her existence is ignored for over 60 years until the institution is going to be shut down. A young relative, Iris, is shocked to find that Esme exists, and that Esme needs a place to stay. Iris is young, single and has her own problems to deal with – can she really take on a mentally unstable old woman? As the two characters develop a relationship, the story deftly unfolds secrets from both their lives, weaving in and out of the past. Each page reveals more clues into the shrouded past of Esme, as well as the confused identity of Iris. Love, loss, family turmoil, plus many plot twists will intrigue readers looking for a well-written and satisfying drama. A great choice for book groups or for a vacation read.
Recommended by Erica Jesonis