Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Vanishing Point” as Want to Read:
The Vanishing Point
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Vanishing Point

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 Ratings  ·  168 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 propriety in thei
Paperback, 369 pages
Published June 2nd 2006 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Vanishing Point, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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 that did not de
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 partner, Kelly. Sh
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 adventure
 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 past.

Regrets are many, and
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, romance, myst
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
Sep 15, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
No sólo todo el libro es melancólico, monótono y angustiante (sin exceso de dramatismo, sino como una enfermedad crónica) sino que el final es más triste aún.
El sufrimiento de Gabriel me partió el alma y sentí una pena tan profunda que me indigné.
No fue un final justo, aunque la autora intentó dar un consuelo estúpido.
Hacia el final amé profundamente a Gabriel, mi tocayo con nombre de ángel, que no merecía sufrir así en la vida.
Leí que era una gran historia de amor, otra chica decía que nunca qu
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
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 wanted to be independent in their own w
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hauntingly beautiful retelling of what it means to be completely dysfunctional.
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 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 naive, I though
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 and forge a ca
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 distant cousin.
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 unconventional w
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book - it was so well written I felt as though I was there travelling from England to the wilds of America with Hannah and May 2 sisters who are so human with all their faults and flaws.

Back in the late 1600s in small town England the choices for women were few. Devoted sisters May and Hannah are very different in personality, May is lusty and lively and rather wanton and her desires are to be free, seek adventure and find excitement, but her promiscuous nature brings her nothing but
Laurel Bradley
Jul 18, 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 distant cousin.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it
I had all intentions of loving this book. The summary I read had me scrambling all over to find a copy. Unfortunately, while I was engaged in the story overall, the ending had me just plain ‘ole upset.

This was a dark book that contained a lot of grief and hardships. Sharratt did a great job of writing daily life in the 1600’s, the scenes were so descriptive I found I had a clear picture of the surroundings.

(view spoiler)
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Funny to think about our own times when texting means you can communicate with your sister multiple times a day and share the sublime, the procedural and even the trivial minutia of your day. Compare that to the late 17th century when for May and Hannah taking a ship to the Americas meant never seeing your sister or your home place ever again. Important letters passing each other on ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, essential facts about your sister unknown. . Did she live? Did the child? I lik ...more
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From my review of this book in Library Journal, 2006:

When beautiful, promiscuous May leaves 17th-century England to marry an unknown distant cousin in the New World, her plain but brilliant sister, Hannah, is heartbroken, but vows to follow her sister to America someday. In the meantime, Hannah cares for their physician father, who secretly passes his knowledge of medicine on to her. Letters are exchanged between the sisters at the rate of only one or two a year, telling much of May's new life b
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Mercy Seller (Illuminator, #2)
  • Shadowbrook
  • Midwife of the Blue Ridge
  • The Tailor's Daughter
  • The Exiled (War of the Roses, #2)
  • The Thief Taker
  • The Firemaster's Mistress (Francis Quoynt #1)
  • Daughter of Liberty (The American Patriot, #1)
  • Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers
  • Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue
  • Damosel: In Which the Lady of the Lake Renders a Frank and Often Startling Account of her Wondrous Life and Times
  • Duchess
  • The Notorious Mrs. Winston
  • Lucrezia Borgia and the Mother of Poisons
  • Savage Lands
  • A Catch of Consequence
  • The Angel of Blythe Hall: A Historical Novel
  • The Raven's Bride
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
More about Mary Sharratt

Fiction Deals

  • Echoes of Family
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Checking Out
    $4.99 $1.99
  • This Is the Story of You
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Outlaw
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Transit
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Class Mom
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Drawing Lessons
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Revolution 2020
    $3.99 $0.99
  • A General Theory of Oblivion
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Bloom Girls
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So B. It
    $6.74 $1.99
  • Island Beneath the Sea
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Petersburg
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Life is What You Make It: A Story of Love, Hope and How Determination Can Overcome Even Destiny
    $1.99 $0.99
  • As Good as True
    $4.99 $1.99
  • First Comes Love
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Last Telegram
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Spinning Heart: A Novel
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Ocean Liner
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Every Day Is Mother's Day
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Breakdown: A Love Story
    $3.99 $0.99
  • A Blaze of Glory (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The House Girl
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Shepherdess of Siena
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Man Who Could Be King
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Wildflowers (Glenbrooke, #8)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • A Mother's Secret (Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Great Man
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Chasing Rainbows: A Novel
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Vagrants
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Perfect Son
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Winnowing Season (Amish Vines and Orchards, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Feathered Bone
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Reunion Of Ghosts
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Crooked Little Lies
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Our Own Country (The Midwife, #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Say Her Name
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Pants Project
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Arcadia
    $9.99 $2.99
  • London
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Swans of Fifth Avenue
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99