Monday, April 4, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Title: The Vespertine
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Published: March 7, 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 293/Hardcover
Series: The Vespertine #1
Challenge: 2011 YA Historical Fiction Challenge
Source: e-ARC from publisher and NetGalley

Summary: 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: The Vespertine started off slow for me and it was hard for me to get into. But somewhere around the middle of the book things started to pick up. 

Saundra Mitchell has a very unique writing style. It's simple enough to draw you in, but it's complex enough to draw a vivid picture in you're mind of the story. I think her writing was one of the things that got the story going and drew me in.

I loved Amelia and Zora. They were believable as not only cousins but as friends too. Mitchell did a great job of making the relationships in this book realistic. I could see the friendship between the girls. They had fights like normal friends, but they always seem to patch things up. I wish there had been more light shed on Nathaniel though. It seemed like we only got to see a little of his life and how he works, but I definitely saw the attraction he and Amelia had for each other.

I was quite surprised by the ending. It seemed rather abrupt, yet I also had the feeling of closure, like it ended the way it should have. 

My one problem with The Vespertine is that there's no real information about why Amelia gets these visions or what the vespers really are. However, I liked the fact that these "talents" were based on the four elements (earth, wind, water, and fire). That added some originality and intrigue to the pot!

Overall The Vespertine was a historical novel that had fantastic writing that draws you in and characters to keep you there. It may have been slow to start and some plot points weren't that clear, but in the end this was a fantastic novel. 

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