23 April 2011

Title: The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books, 293 Pages (March 7th 2011)
From: Amazon Vine Program

Synopsis: It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

Review: 3 Stars - The Vespertine By Saundra Mitchell is an intriguing tale that takes place during the summer of 1889 in Baltimore. With descriptive writing and some fascinating characters, Mitchell’s intertwining combination of equal parts historical and equal parts supernatural will have many fans of both genres excited and ready to read.

When Amelia van den Broek’s brother sends her off to family in Baltimore to find a suitable husband, she had no idea just how the summer would turn out. Coming from a small village without prospects she’s more than eager to broaden her horizons in the bustling city. She becomes fast friends with her cousin Zora who welcomes her whole heartedly into her life and circle of friends. Amelia has some funny moments and together you can see the two being inseparable.

Soon after Amelia’s arrival she finds she’s able to see visions in the setting sun, visions of people and places around her, just small glimpses into the future of others. I have to say that this was a part of the story that I couldn’t come to terms with. And it’s at this point in the review I must warn of slight spoilers.

I didn’t understand how she just accepted without question that she was having visions… there wasn’t anything weird about it nor did she have any trouble simply believing she could see the future. I just felt it all came so easy. Thinking about that time in the past I would have thought there would have been more questioning and hiding what she could do than just accepting things as they are. Now, I was reading an ARC and as always things change from ARC’s to finished copies, so that could be the case here, so please keep that in mind.

One thing I did love was the interaction between Amelia and Nathaniel, which were few and far between. Nathaniel was hands down my favorite character and was missing from a good part of the story, making him extremely mysterious. It’s the little glimpse we catch of him that intrigued me and made me want to know more about this captivating boy. Sadly, he’s someone she shouldn’t be so drawn to due to his status. I liked the fact that she didn’t let that get to her and still went out of her way to spend time with a boy who could understand her more than she understands herself.

While their relationship is what pushed me to finish this book and in the end gave this book a 3 star review… and the writing and descriptions were vivid, there were questions to things I just didn’t understand. The main question was as mentioned above.

Things go wrong… Amelia’s visions start to show more and more truth and people get hurt. When it gets too close to home she’s sent back to her brother, who was more than shocking with his treatment to his only sister. He had more of a reaction that I’d think was more normal for the date of when this story takes place.

All in all The Vespertine, for me, had some bumps but there were things that made up the difference. From the vivid writing and characters to the budding relationship between Amelia and Nathaniel, Mitchell has written a story that many will fall in love with. Since this is my first time reading anything by Mitchell, I’ll be more than ready to read something from this author again in the future. I will also be on the look out for the next book in this series to see where it might take Amelia and Nathanial next. Enjoy!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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  1. Aww, it's too bad you didn't devour this one like me. I went into it thinking I wouldn't enjoy it, but ending up loving it.

    I get what you mean about Amelia's visions though. I remember reading a few interviews with Saundra and she had said that magic and stuff was looked at as fun parlor tricks back then and didn't garner reactions like those that led to the Salem Witch Trials later on.

    Anyway, thanks for the review. It's very well-written, as always and I'm happy you pointed out what didn't work for you.

  2. I picked this one up a while ago, but haven't read many reviews on it. I appreciate your honest opinion and will keep them in mind when I read this! :)


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