Maggie O'Farrell: THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX (2006) is about Iris who suddenly finds out that she has a great-aunt (Esme) who was for about 60 years in a asylum, which is now about to be closed - and the only one who would know something about the things that caused Esme's stay there besides Esme is her sister Kitty. But Kitty suffers from Alzheimer's...
I just discovered this book and loved it - well, it contains some of my favourite book themes:
The early 20th century (seems to be the early 1930ies I guess - anyway it was not pointed out exactly), women, asylums, sisters, mental illness - oh - and a vintage shop - one extra-yay for that! And it is setted Edingburgh, Scotland.
A fast read and really enchaining. I was not thrilled to death but could not put the book away. Really nice read for a autumn week-end - if you are able to put it out of your hand.. ;")
There is one thing in this book which really touches me: I am afraid of being diagnosed with the Alzheimer's disease - how awful to vanish away and be frightened by everyone because you don't know them and they acting like they do know you for years.
In the end I was up to write some whiny text messages and/or letters to my sister, to say that I love her - which I did not do, because maybe my sister would consider to send me into an asylum..
I really love the English cover - the German one is kind of boring - but don't you think it looks a bit like the garden of Manderley ;") - well, maybe the rhododendrons should be all in red.. - :
The German title DIE FRAU, DIE ES NICHT GAB means "The woman who did not exist".