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The Vanishing Point

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,112 ratings  ·  173 reviews
In the tradition of Philippa Gregory’s smart, transporting fiction comes this tale of dark suspense, love, and betrayal, featuring two star-crossed sisters, one lost and the other searching.

Bright and inquisitive, Hannah Powers was raised by a father who treated her as if she were his son. While her beautiful and reckless sister, May, pushes the limits of propr
Paperback, 369 pages
Published June 2nd 2006 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,112 ratings  ·  173 reviews

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Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
When I began this book I was not sure if I even wanted to get through it. I thought the character of May being so sexually liberal from the beginning was a little forced. A woman during that time in England and in America would have been punished (quite wrongly, but still) and therefore I was not surprised at what happened to May in America with her new husband. I really liked the character of Hannah, and her naivete and then her strength. She did what she had to do to protect herself and her ch ...more
Jenny Q
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars. This one started out iffy for me but I kept going and was glad I did because once Hannah got to America I was hooked on the story. But then just as the mystery of what really happened to May started to heat up, Hannah unraveled and so did the rest of the story. I didn't care for the stupidity that suddenly enveloped Hannah nor the choices she made. In the end, neither of the girls were worthy enough in my eyes to be heroines and I felt like I'd been cheated out of the time it took me ...more
Elizabeth Ashworth
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've only recently discovered Mary Sharratt's work after reading her latest novel Daughters of the Witching Hill (which is set near to where I live and is a story I know well).

The Vanishing Point took me into new territory to explore a time and country that I wasn't so familiar with and I found the descriptions vivid and evocative.

It was written in an interesting and unusual way that twisted together the stories of the lives of two sisters and a man. The plot was unexpected, but tha
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
The beginning of this book held promise, but it deteriorated into an unbelievable end that left me annoyed.
Erika Robuck
Aug 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
“A mere optical illusion, Hannah,” her father told her, referring to the vanishing point on the horizon. “In truth, the ship does not disappear. The vessel is still there, even if we on the shore cannot see it.” So it transpired that both people and ships could become ghosts without ever dying or sinking beneath the waves. (Prologue, The Vanishing Point)

The Vanishing Point, by Mary Sharratt, is 364 pages and was published in 2006. It was a gift from my beloved writing critique partne
This book was so absorbing I read it in one day. It doesn't fit any of the genres of modern day but either do I think it was written in the tradition of Philippa Gregory. This book reminds me more of an older writer, Elizabeth Goudge.
May Powers is seven years older than her sister, Hannah. She is also a loose woman. Having earned a bad reputation in their small village, her father decides to send her to the new world as a bride for his cousin's son. May thinks of the journey as a great adv
Louise Marley
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm a Mary Sharratt fan, especially after DAUGHTERS OF WITCHING HILL. Her prose and her characters are easy to take in, and she spins a fine story. This book didn't disappoint in those areas, but the plot, and the shifting viewpoints, felt somehow contrived to me. One entire segment--a medically trained woman passing as a man so she could work as a doctor--was glossed over with only a few paragraphs, and was a part of the story I had been anticipating. It seemed to me that the writer spent a gre ...more
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I first read Mary Sharratt's "Daughters of Witching Hill", I enjoyed it - I have just finished "Vanishing Point".

I liked her characters in this one better, the story gripped me - having to finish another chapter before putting it down - again & again.

Things don't happen as you would wish they would all the time - in real life they do not either.

Hannah, May, Gabriel, Adele and other characters were well written, the mystery slowly reveals itself in glimpses of the pas
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I finished reading the book this morning before I went to work. Bad idea. I could not stop thinking about the ending ( I really do not want to give anything away). I could not stop my brain from trying to process all the different emotions I was going through. It is a good book. It is a thought provoking, passionate book you will not be able to put down ... whether you love OR hate the book. There are characters you love; characters you weep for; and characters you hate and wish Karma would have ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Please do not read the description of this book on Amazon, Goodreads, or the book jacket - they all contain spoilers. Read my spoiler-free review below:

This book is about two sisters in England in the 1600's. The eldest is sent to America to marry her distant cousin, sight unseen. Upon the death of the father, the younger daughter travels to Virginia to join her sister. Once she gets there, she finds that things are not as she expected.

This book has different levels: period piece, r
Aug 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book was painful to read and I had to force myself to finish it. THe summary on the back cover was not the same as the book itself. By the end of this book I hated every character and couldn't wait to finish it so that I could move on. The distrubing details about the animal slaughterings were unnecessary and were two pages long. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
♥ Marlene♥
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
On Monday, July 30, 2007 I wrote this on bookcrossing about this book.....

10 out of 10
This was a great book. While it took me more than 1 week to read the last book, this book The Vanishing Point I could not put down.
Starting to read it yesterday I just finished it.

From the moment I started I really liked it. Not knowing which direction this book would go thrilled me and I was not disappointed
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I couldn't put this one down. It interesting in that it's about sister's who move to Maryland to wed after their father dies in England in the 1600's. There is a twist and the plot keeps you guessing.
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Enthralling. Loved it.
I had big hopes with this novel. So big, that, at the beginning, I pretended that I hadn't seen its shortages. It was only after more than hundred pages that I had to admit there was something wrong with this book.

Let's start with what was good.

In my opinion, Mary Sharratt did a deep historical research. I am not an historian but I think she was very accurate in describing foods, clothes and so on.

Secondly, I found the main idea of two different sister who wan
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Got about 2/3rds of the way through and then skipped to the end so that I could find out where everyone ended up. I suppose that speaks to a certain level of investment in the characters, since I didn't just drop it.
This book was such a chore. The blurb on the back is completely misleading, especially since you're supposed to think older sister May is dead until more than halfway through, and it's intended by the narrative to be a shock to learn she actually might not be. Instead, that's s
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I bought a copy of The Vanishing Point years ago, but it languished after one failed attempt to read it. I wanted to try it once more before clearing it from my shelves. The novel caught my attention quickly. I enjoyed the setting and the premise: a young woman follows in her sister's footsteps, voyaging from England to Virginia in the 1690s. Sharratt wrote very well, establishing a believable historical setting populated with believable characters. I especially enjoyed the relationship between siste ...more
Yvonne Smith
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
My! this is a Marmite book, isn't it?
This was Sharratt's third book and IMO her best. Two sisters separately travel to America in the 1690s and find life very different to that left behind in Gloucester, England. It's about the trials and tribulations of their lives, but don't be put off, I found it extremely readable.
Emily Pickell
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This book wasn’t quite what I expected. It was written well and was interesting but nothing stood out as amazing so it gets an average rating.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hauntingly beautiful retelling of what it means to be completely dysfunctional.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Suspenseful page-turner
Sep 14, 2009 rated it liked it
May Powers is no stranger to a good roll in the hay. In fact, she's a little bit too familiar with it. Her honor gone, and no hope of finding a respectable match in her small English town, her father sends her to America to be wed to a distant cousin's son Gabriel. May's sister Hannah is distraught about this, she doesn't want her sister to leave her all alone with their ailing father. Knowing they will meet again after their father dies, May leaves for America and Hannah is left to cling to her ...more
Judith Phillips
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm so disappointed. The story had such potential. The author just let these women become foolish. They didn't learn from what went on in their past. The main character, Hannah, put all of her loyalty on her faithless dead sister. It made no sense. I just finished the book and am so disappointed at the ending.
Stephany G
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
"The Vanishing Point" was far, far different from what I was expecting it to be. And far, far darker too- but in a good way.

The summary on the back of the book really doesn't do justice to the complexity of the story. Before reading it, I only knew the basic start to Hannah's story: her sister May goes to America for an arranged marriage, Hannah follows her there a while later, she finds out that May has passed away, and she falls in love with May's widow, Gabriel. And being very nai
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book! Set in 17th century England and America, and described as a "tale of dark suspense, love, and betrayal, featuring two star-crossed sisters, one lost and the other searching" - the thing that initially appealed to me about this story was the relationship between these two sisters.

There's the younger sister - intelligent,inquisitive determined Hannah who has been brought up, somewhat improperly many would say, by her father, who wishes her to follow his footsteps an
Heidi Garrett
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I almost stopped reading The Vanishing Point about a third of the way in. I’m so glad I didn’t. Unusual for me, my interest in the story steadily climbed through the last half of the book. What began as a somewhat interesting historical novel, passed through some tedious terrain, to evolve into a story of great movement and depth.

There was a moment where my heart gasped. And I closed the book, dwelling on the lives of May and Adele, Hannah and Gabriel.
Marry Sharratt writes about unc
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In art, the place where parallel lines meet on the horizon is called the vanishing point. Mary Sharratt's novel is about the difference between how things appear and how things really are.

At first, sisters Mary and Hannah seem to live lives that are more like diverging lines than parallel ones. May, the older, wilder, and beautifully sensuous sister samples men like sweets at a fair. When her sexual appetite ruins her marital prospects in England, she is sent to Maryland to wed a dis
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Mary Sharratt is an American writer who lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed 2010 novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medic