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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Author: Saundra Mitchell
Pages: 293
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Series or Standalone: Standalone, but has upcoming companion novel
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Reading Level: 13 years+
Dominant Themes: Magic, Prophecies
Release Date: March 7th, 2011

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 downloaded The Vespertine from Netgalley, and it actually has the honor of being the very first book I’ve ever read on my Nook. And I’m very glad I did. I really enjoyed The Vespertine.

Amelia was an interesting character. In the first few pages of the books, judging by her behavior and how her brother was treating her, I thought she was some little ho-ho who had compromised her virtue and then went insane. Needless to say, the very beginning of the book was engrossing, and instantly caught me in. I needed to know what would happen.

I think the biggest thing about this book, is it leads you to believe that it’s more than it is, and after you read it, you’re left thinking “That wasn’t what I expected at all, but I loved it anyway.” That’s exactly what happened to me. From the cover, I went in with the notion of some epic fantastical romance with a magical, mysterious twist. What I got was a fantastical romance with a magical mysterious twist. (Without the epic.) It was a wonderful book, with a plot that moved and just the perfect pace, entrancing yet deliciously shady characters, and lots of Victorian-esque romantic drama. Sprinkle on a few pinches of magic, and you have The Vespertine.

The romance between Amelia and Nathaniel was…. Thrilling. As a Victorian Era enthusiast, I already knew the decorum and rules set for this sort of society. So reading about Amelia and Nathaniel breaking those rules gave me butterflies, and I was practically swooning along with Amelia. They lived in a time when people did not go on dates to fall in love; they simply married for status, wealth, and beauty. Amelia is forced to disregard the aforementioned traits if she truly wants to be with Nathaniel… and she sure as hell does.

The paranormal elements came into play when we find out that Amelia has the ability to see the future. Only glimpses in the light of the setting sun, but those glimpses make her the most sought after girl in society. They also forewarn to disastrous events, which cause more trouble than help. Nathaniel has his own magical secret, but I’ll leave that for you to find out…

I am a major fan of historical fiction, but I find that I don’t read it enough as I would like. This novel is both historical, but with paranormal elements, so I think that any fans of paranormal should LOVE The Vespertine.

That cover is BEYOND gorgeous.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Uniqueness\Creativity: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 6/5!
Overall: 5/5

The Vespertine on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing


  1. I got this from NetGalley too but haven't read it yet. I can't wait to get to it! Thanks for the review.

  2. I'm glad you loved it. Thanks for the detailed review! This book sounds really interesting. I've been debating on and off on whether to read it or not.


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