08 March 2011

Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 1:55 PM

The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)

  Title: The Vespertine                      Pages: 293
  Author: Saundra Mitchell                Source: NetGalley
  Publisher: Harcourt Children’s       Published: Mar 7, 2011
  Series: The Vespertine                   Purchase: Amazon
  Rating: 3 out of 5

Amelia van den Broek is staying with her cousins in Baltimore, for a change of pace to finds friends and a suitable husband. It's 1889, but Amelia and Zora, her cousin's daughter, do not take any fun in being normal, good young ladies. They enjoy having a wicked streak, before they are to marry and have to settle down.

But Amelia is weighted by her gift - she can look into the sunset and see glimpses of the future. Having no other means to psychic abilities, people all over Baltimore start to call on Amelia for her visions, mostly pleasant. Sometimes disturbing.

And with a forbidden romance with an artist, Nathaniel Witherspoon, Amelia has trouble holding back her desires, even though Mr. Witherspoon could be harboring his own secrets.

I would like to say that I do not care for many Historical Romance books, so this review is heavily influenced by that.

The characters are a very strong point to The Vespertine. Everyone has so much depth. I felt like I knew Amelia and Zora, and I loved their characters. Amelia is in between ladylike and carefree and it's her time in her life where she's trying to find herself. She's not as graceful as most other young ladies, nor as proper at most times. Her cousin, Zora Stewart, is a mix between her parents - Elegant and witty and spitfire.

Nathaniel was an okay lead male character for me. I liked him, but not as much as other male characters. He was sweet and carefree and didn't follow any rules but his own, yet he wasn't a bad boy by any means. He just wasn't marriage material by their time's standards.

The writing was wonderful, but for me it was hard to understand at times, because of not liking historial fiction. It's like reading Shakespeare - you either understand it and love it or you don't understand quite what they're saying. Everything was described beautifully, better than a lot of books are described. The beginning of the book was confusing, but only in the way that you don't have enough information, and as I read on it was clear to me.

The setting felt authentic, unlike some historical fiction I assume. The dialogue and the descriptions - everything - was described in how one would talk if you were in 1889, and I highly respected Saundra Mitchell's intelligence by the end.

Overall, I liked the premise of the book, but I couldn't totally get into the historical setting. This is just my likes and dislikes, so if you like historical romance, I'd recommend this to you without hesitation.

The characters are lovely, the setting is authentic and the writing is beautiful. I wouldn't hesitate either to try Mitchell's other work.


I give The Vespertine a 3 out of 5.


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