The Vanishing Point and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Value Promenade
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very good overall with light to moderate wear; No dust jacket;
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Vanishing Point Paperback – Bargain Price, June 2, 2006

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, Bargain Price, June 2, 2006
$1.90 $0.01

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an price sticker identifying them as such. Details

The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy
A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. HBO will release the television version, already familiar to British viewers, beginning April 29.

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co. (June 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618462333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618462339
  • ASIN: B003E7ET4E
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,519,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sexual tension and foreboding abound in this engaging but clumsy colonial potboiler. Sharrat's novel chronicles the travails of Hannah and May Powers, close English sisters who have been raised by their physician father. May is sent to Maryland in order to be married, but when Hannah arrives in the New World for a visit, she is informed by her brother-in-law that May has died following childbirth. Hannah suspects something sinister, though, and begins searching for the truth even as she becomes romantically entangled with her sister's widower. Sharratt succeeds in keeping the plot unpredictable, even as the characters, prose and dialogue are mired in cliché and awkward syntax ("How came you here?" and "Get you back to the dock" are typical examples of the novel's 17th century-speak). An over-reliance on shifting perspectives and chronological jumps also obstructs the novel's strengths, including interesting, well-researched period detail with an emphasis on food and medicine. These winning passages coexist queasily with sex scenes that seem lifted from lesser romance novels. The plot remains sturdy, however, leading to a conclusion that is well-orchestrated and satisfying.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Though vastly different, sisters May and Hannah Powers have been raised as independent, freethinking women by their physician father. May, a lusty, vivacious spitfire, defies seventeenth-century British conventions, taking many lovers and chafing against the idea of a traditional marriage. Meanwhile, younger sister Hannah is secretly trained in the art and science of healing by her doting father. When a disgraced May is sent to America to marry a distant cousin, Hannah fears she will never see her beloved sister again. After their father's death, Hannah travels to the New World to reunite with the only family she has left. Once in Maryland, however, Hannah learns May is dead and finds herself irresistibly drawn to her brother-in-law. Although she is told her sister died in childbirth, accumulating evidence seems to suggest otherwise, and Hannah realizes she must unravel the mystery of May's life and possible death no matter what price she may pay for unearthing the truth. An authentically detailed period piece with elements of gothic suspense thrown in for good measure. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

The author has a lovely voice in her writing style.
Lilly Flora
Hated the book to end and it's a book that really got my emotions especially towards May.....can't stand her because of what happens at the end of book.
Linda Goodwin
Highly recommended both as historical fiction and as a quality mystery.
Tamela Mccann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Lilly Flora VINE VOICE on June 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a tale of two sisters. One treats her sexuality as any man of any time would do: openly and without restraint of regard for social constructs. Her name is May, and this same sexual behavior has her unmarrigable in England and setting sail for Maryland to marry the son of her father's cousin. She regards this as an adventure though they have never met, and she is four years older than her soon to be husband Gabriel Washbrook. May has a younger sister, Hannah, who also does not fit into society because of the extensive medical education her physician father gave her. She stays in England to care for her aging father, but when he dies she heads off to join her sister in Maryland.

Only Hannah finds that upon reaching her sisters plantation that not only was the family's prosperity mentioned in her cousins letters false, but her sister is dead. Only Gabriel is left on the plantation, and he is half mad from grief, anger, and being totally isolated. Like Gabriel, Hannah is a born loner and her grief for her sister soon turns into love for her sister's widow. But still she has not received a satisfactory answer as to what happened to May.

This is a very well written book. The author has a lovely voice in her writing style. It is kind of a small, story and plot oriented novel, which was a relief after all the historical fiction novels I've read that tell people's whole life story with no desirable plot.

Chapters alternate as to the narrator (though it's all in third person except for the second to last chapter) which allows the story to unfold, and the mystery of May's death to be told in a very suspenseful manner. You won't find out what happened `till the end.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mary Sharratt's The Vanishing Point is a wonderful example of historical fiction that grips you from the first words, twisting and turning into unexpected character development and bringing to life colonial America in ways seldom seen. Sharratt's characterizations carefully build on the seeds she plants at the beginning of the novel, and she tells the stories using several narratives to shed light on the complexities of life for planters during the late 1600s.

This is the story of Hannah Powers, whose elder sister May is the town wanton in an English village. Unable (and unwilling) to find a suitable marriage due to her loose ways, May accepts the offer of marriage to a distant cousin in America as a way to escape her past. After their father dies a couple of years later, Hannah decides to join her beloved elder sister and makes her way to May's home in the colonies. Upon arrival, she discovers her sister dead, the servants gone, and her brother-in-law Gabriel mourning his wife all alone in the isolated area. From there we follow Hannah as she develops feelings for Gabriel yet struggles with the inconsistencies in his stories over what really happened to May. Sharratt tells the story by revealing a layer at a time, meticulously using historical detail to bring the era to life and fill out the shadows that surround Hannah. This is a well-told tale, and makes me look forward to reading more by this outstanding author. Highly recommended both as historical fiction and as a quality mystery.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By H. Keanum on September 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great story from Mary Sharratt! I finished the book in the near-dawn hours of morning because I simply couldn't put it down until the end. And when the book ended, with the kind of ending that clenches at your chest because of a most bittersweet ending for all the people involved, I still couldn't even stop thinking about it.

This book takes you back to the times of America's beginning, with the first colonizations into Maryland with the tale of two sisters, as different as night and day in every possible way, and shows how the way they live affects the other.

Mary Sharratt's style of writing is appealing in the best sense. Her careful prose and choice of words were befitting for the colonial times she wrote about and eased me into the time period. There was never a moment I felt ripped from the time period because she was so fluent in using many of the period's expressions and words. As you read The Vanishing Point, you can tell Sharratt researched for this book patiently and thoroughly.

Allusions and themes run smoothly through the book and at times were so deeply woven with insinuation, I wondered if I'd ever grasp all of the imagery presented. And hours after finishing the book, still contemplating its impeccable style and tale, I find there are likely more suggestions of deeper thought than I was comprehending in reading it. This is a book I seriously plan on reading again very soon to pick up on more details I may have missed the first time.

Sharratt, you are likely one of the finest writers of the times and hope to read future works.

A highly recommended, 5-star read to any lover of historical fiction at its best.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Katrina Stone on July 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mary Sharratt weaves an enchanting, unique and believable tale, yet again, in her third amazingly well-researched historical novel. Set in the late 1600's, this book follows two sisters from England to the new world. The other reviews have explained the general gist of the story, so I won't go over it again. But I will say, that unlike some authors of historical novels, Sharratt does not go in to tedious explanations of fauna and flora, or make characters who are unbelievably fantastic (Jean Auel comes to mind, with her pages and pages of explaining the uses of a plant or how the main character did something fantastic like saving a village or inventing horseback riding.). These characters have faults, as with May who I found was rather selfish and immature at times, as well as their lovable traits. The story is gripping, fast-paced and involving. I highly recommend this book, as well as Summit Avenue and The Real Minerva.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

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 medicine, inspired her to write her most recent novel, ILLUMINATIONS: A NOVEL OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN, which explores the dramatic life of the 12th century Benedictine abbess, composer, polymath, and powerfrau.

Winner of the 2005 WILLA Literary Award and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary has also written the acclaimed novels SUMMIT AVENUE (Coffee House 2000), THE REAL MINERVA (Houghton Mifflin 2004), THE VANISHING POINT (Houghton Mifflin 2006), and co-edited the subversive fiction anthology BITCH LIT (Crocus Books 2006), which celebrates female anti-heroes--strong women who break all the rules. Her short fiction has been published in TWIN CITIES NOIR (Akashic Books 2006).

Mary writes regular articles for Historical Novels Review and Solander on the theme of writing women back into history. When she isn't writing, she's usually riding her spirited Welsh mare through the Lancashire countryside.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?