The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
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.I really should read more historical fiction. I rarely pick it up but I find that when I do, I enjoy it. The Vespertine was no exception.
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.
The Vespertine drew me in from the first page with its beautiful prose and the lyrical dialogue that comes with a novel set in older times. The descriptions are lush and I felt like I had been transported back in time as I continued reading.
Saundra Mitchell blended paranormal elements in with more classic historical sections with ease. The prologue especially gave the novel an air of mystery and I was on tenterhooks trying to pinpoint the moment it would all start to go downhill.
The characters held my interest as well and really rang true to the time period. I liked the tight-knit relationship between Amelia and Zora who seemed more like sisters than cousins and the male love interests were pretty swoon-worthy themselves. We have Nathaniel, the more rebellious artist that Amelia enters a forbidden romance with and Thomas, the classic gentleman that Zora snags. I liked the build-up of both relationships and where we could see emotions start to shift and deepen.
Overall, The Vespertine was a gorgeous novel with a perfect surprise ending.
Cover Comments: Okay, so I know that everyone loved this cover. Personally, I think it's okay but a little predictable. You know - sad girl, pretty dress, earth tones. I like the gold lettering though. Also, isn't there another book coming out in 2012 with the same girl/dress in red?