Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Release Date: March 7, 2011

It’s the summer of 1889, and seventeen-year-old Amelia van den Broek has been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry. With diversions ranging from archery in the park to dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance, Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. But her gaiety is interrupted by the 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, and the young woman who was an outsider is suddenly quite in demand. However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora's circle, 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. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will stay in hers.
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 of them.

I admit, I've been mulling over this book since the weekend. Even after almost a week, I am undecided on whether I really loved it or really didn't love it. Maybe I've settled somewhere in the middle...

There were so many things I loved about this book. I loved Amelia. Even though times were different, Amelia was much the same as teenagers today. A sixteen year old girl struggling to find herself and maybe love along the way. Granted, she's looking for a husband at sixteen, while girls nowadays are looking for a boyfriend, at best. Oh, and Amelia has visions of the future. That's a bit uncommon today too, I suppose. Amelia was just naive enough to be endearing but daring enough to make you want to see her story through to the end.

I also loved Nathaniel. There were some things about him that I wanted so badly to understand, but for the life of me didn't. I'm a bit confused why some of the things he did were even in this book. However, as far as love stories go, this was one I enjoyed, mostly thanks to Nathaniel. Amelia was far "out of his league"--and they both knew it-- but I think that's why I loved the romance side of the story. What girl doesn't want to read about a forbidden romance??

This book had a little bit of everything-- romance, adventure, intrigue, and tragedy-- all with a little supernatural thrown in. Overall, I really did like this book. The reason I've been so undecided is that I didn't like the ending, which is, of course, what you walk away from a book remembering. If I don't like a book very much, but it has a spectacular ending, I'm more likely to be generous in my review of it. This book was the opposite for me. I liked the story, just not the ending. So, I'm a little torn. Maybe I'll just let you be the judge. I definitely think The Vespertine is worth reading, just don't say I didn't warn you if the ending leaves you a bit disappointed.

Happy Reading!

**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.


Chaleese said...

I wanted to read it, but now I'm not sure....I hate crappy endings. Crap, now I don't know what to do? :)

Megan @ Reading for Refuge said...

Chaleese--Read it anyway, and then we can talk about it. :) I'd be interested to know your thoughts on it.