The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Publication Date: March 7th, 2011
Published By: Harcourt Children's Books(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Hardcover, 304 Pages
Source: HMH via Netgalley
Summary from Goodreads:
"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."
My Review: ***** = 5 Stars
I can count the number of historical fiction novels I have read on one hand. I love the idea, but for some reason I just can't get into them all too often. That was certainly one problem, that I did not have here. Right from the get go I become enraptured with Saundra's use of words and dialogue. I felt like I had stepped back in time and that I was experiencing what Amelia and those around her were experiencing. Perhaps it was the fact that this historical fiction is intertwined with a supernatural aspect, that I enjoyed it so much, but it would be wrong of me not to give major props to Saundra Mitchell for being able to combine those two aspects so magnificantly.
There are two times in Amelia's life that this book is separated into. When she goes to visit her cousin Zora and to find a suitable husband in Baltimore, and the other when she has returned home to her brother August and his wife.The alternating times in Amelia's life that are shown is something that I think helped draw me into this book. Knowing what is going on in the present time with her brother, had me very intrigued to see what happened when she was spending time with Zora.
As far as the romance in this novel is concerned, it is absolutely perfect. I've read around where a few people felt that the relationship between Amelia and Nathaniel was unrealistic, but I feel the opposite. Back in those times, the relationship was built on minor meetings, and chance get togethers. Every extra glance and lingering hand helped the relationship to grow. These people didn't get to just hang out all the time, go to movies and dinner. Everything is done in groups and over long periods of time.
The pace of this book was also spot on. It didn't crawl at snail speed during any part and it wasn't too rushed either. It picked up in the perfect places and I was left very happy with how everything ended.
I just found out that there will be a second book, it won't be a continuation to what happened in The Vespertine, but a companion novel. The Springsweet will be released in the Spring of 2012.
Any fans of historical fiction or supernatural genres will most likely enjoy this book. And for those of you that aren't fans of historical fiction, I recommend you still check it out, since I am not particularly interested in that genre and I absolutely adored this book!
Find out more about Saundra Mitchell on her webpage
follow her on twitter : @saundramitchell