Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Monday, March 7, 2011

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Author: Saundra Mitchell

Release Date: March 7th, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 293
Source: Ebook from Publisher via 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.

My Review:
Saundra Mitchell did such a good job of making me think I was in Baltimore in 1889. I’ve always loved historical novels but this one is just fantastic! The language is perfect for the time period. From the way things are described to the dialect everything is said just right. It's as if Saundra traveled back into time to write this and came back to us just so she could deliver us this amazing story. I forgot I was reading a book that was written in the 21st century and not the 19th. I can tell that Saundra Mitchell not only loved the story and the setting and the characters but the language itself. And no matter what the situation whether normal or psychic it always fits perfectly in with the storyline and it never feels out of place. About a quarter of the way through the novel or so, Amelia, Zora and Thomas go to see Lady Privalvna who is a medium. At one point in the lady's show she is overcome with tremors and a doctor comes out. The doctor’s companion yells out to the audience that they shouldn’t be alarmed because the man is a doctor. If I was there I would still be alarmed, so what if he’s a doctor! It’s the 1800’s for heaven’s sake, they knew nothing about medicine! It’s a good thing I was not a time traveler in this book or I would have pointed this out to Amelia and her friends. I loved the character of Nathaniel. I really did. He was so adorable I wish there was more of him in the story but then again if there was I wouldn’t have gotten so excited every time his name was mentioned or Amelia saw him. I probably wouldn’t love him quite so much if his name wasn't Nathaniel though either (I adore that name). I especially liked the way Saundra Mitchell had the ability to rip out my heart and STOMP on it in one chapter and then completely mend it in the next! This had the potential of becoming another one of those I want a re-do on the ending kind of books, but in the end it really did work out just the way I planned (for two of the characters at least). I fully recommend this to fans of historical fiction or people who are looking to try it out.