Monday, 18 July 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Source: Library
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 293

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.
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.

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? 


  1. Wow, the cover for this book is awesome. I'm also on the same boat as you - I also really need to read more historical fiction. This book will definitely be added to my tbr list on Shelfari. :)

  2. Great review, this is on my list! I really like historical reads, so excited to read!

  3. I'm not usually a huge fan of historical but this one sounds good! I might have to give it a go and see what happens. And cover-wise - the one with the red dress is the Australian version of The Goddess Test (I'm pretty sure, I think Brodie got it for review). Anyway, I love both covers! :P Thanks for the review :)

  4. Two swoon-worthy guys and a surprise ending. Sounds fantastic! And yes, it's the Goddess Test Aussie cover. I think it's a little disappointing that they are the same - exactly - other than the dress. Can't they get more creative?

  5. Renu: Glad to know I'm not alone! :) Hope you like it.

    Stephanie: It had been on my list for a while before I finally got to it. Hopefully you'll get a chance to read it soon!

    Liz: Maybe it'll be better because of that paranormal aspect? OOOH. That's weird - I liked the US cover for The Goddess Test! Not that I have a problem with the girl/dress or anything.

    Alyssa: I should make a checklist like that for the books I read... I know! I always feel kind of cheated when I see the same picture on two different covers (like North of Beautiful and Evermore, I think?).

  6. This book sounds awesome. I have had it in the back of my mind to read, but just haven't had the push to pick it up. I now want to read it. I love historical fiction. Great review

  7. I don't usually read historical fiction (um, virtually none -- I'm more into urban fantasy and such), but I really like the concept of visions put into the historical setting. I'd definitely read this for that reason. Thanks for the review!

  8. I'm the same! I don't read historical nearly as much as I should, but when I do I find that it totally sucks me in. I hadn't really been planning on reading this, but you've convinced me otherwise. And a 'perfect surprise ending' instantly hooks me in too!

    Oh, yeah, the Aussie cover of The Goddess Test is the same but the girl has a red dress. And she's also used on Dark Angel by Eden Maguire.

  9. Kathy: Aww thanks! :) Happy reading.

    Jenna: It's always cool for a book to fit into several genres, I think, just because it appeals to a wider audience. Thanks!

    Brodie: YES. DARK ANGEL! That is the one I was thinking of! Wow, 3 different covers? That must be pretty cool for the model LOL.

    It always makes me SO NERVOUS when people say stuff like that to me. If you hate it, will you hate me automatically??? OH NO.

  10. Oh! I loved this book! I'm like you. I don't read nearly enough historical fiction, but now I'm reading a lot of it because it really is good stuff. The ending of this book! OHMYGAWD! I was like "yes! yes! yes!" and then that part, in the climax where he's all "trust me." At the top of a giant freaking building. I about died. Great choice. Great book. :p

    ♥ Trish
    Just a YA Girl

  11. I wish I had liked this book as much as you did, but I just didn't. I agree about the cover though; it's very typical, and there is another cover just like it coming out. Lol.

  12. Hi sonia it's Sonya lol I couldn't resist, I have thought about reading this book but not really a fan of historical fiction but it sounds interesting.

  13. I had this book from Netgalley and I never got around to it. Now I wish I had, I really enjoyed your review. Thanks.

  14. Trish: I KNOW. You summed it up perfectly. I can't wait to read the companion novels!

    Penelope: It's a shame you didn't like it! Oh well :) There are plenty of books to enjoy.

    Sonya: HI SONYA! I feel like historical fiction is just one of those genres only some people like. If you ever get around to reading it, let me know :)

    Sara: Well maybe some other time! Thanks so much :)