Monday, 7 March 2011

Review: The Vespertine - Saundra Mitchell

I received The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell from netgalley courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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've been trying to find the right word to describe this book for a few days now and I think I am going to go with enchanting. I didn't really know to much about The Vespertine before I started reading it so I didn't really know what to expect. I got a little worried at the beginning because the start was very ominous but once I got in to the main part of the book I found myself swept away with the story. I felt the excitement and trepidation Amelia was feeling at being in new surroundings. I felt the giddiness of Amelia and Zora's new friendship and the magnetism Amelia felt to Nathaniel.

The Vespertine was a great mix of historical and paranormal, although it wasn't to heavy on the paranormal just enough to make it interesting. When anyone asks if you could have a superpower what would it be foreseeing the future is up at the top of my list (teleportation being at the very top), The Vespertine however reads like a cautionary tale. The sense of foreboding hangs over every chapter, you just know something bad is going to happen you just don't know what. I wanted to reach into the book and warn Amelia before it was to late.

I usually like my endings straight up happy but I liked the ambiguous aspect of this ending, the possibilities it presented and feeling of hope it left me with. Maybe some of the relationships weren't tied up with a bow but that was OK maybe someday they would be.

I am definitely going to have to dig out her first book, Shadowed Summer, out of my stacks and add it to my tbr pile.

That's all for now.


  1. I didn't know much about this one, either. I just knew that I liked the cover, and that people had enjoyed Shadowed Summer. Glad to know it's a good mix of historical fiction, and paranormal. Thanks for the review!

  2. I haven't read this but added it to the list after reading another great review. I don't know what superpower I would like to have -- just plain ol' flying would be great!
    (thanks for stopping by for Teaser Tuesday :)