Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: The Vespertine

Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"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 discovered The Vespertine after doing some research about the authors attending the RT Booklovers Convention this upcoming weekend (Are you going? Let me know!!). Saundra Mitchell will be signing, so I decided to give The Vespertine a try and ended up enjoying it for the most part. I got it from the library, but I heard the sequel, The Springsweet, will be for sale at RT, so I plan to buy that one and get it signed.

I love historical fiction novels, so I was really intrigued by the combination of that genre with paranormal. I was also a little leery, since that combo isn't too popular, but I liked what Saundra Mitchell did. I adore the old timey customs that she included, like calling cards. I remember learning about those in the Little House series and thinking they sounded pretty awesome. Apparently my love for 19th century calling cards has been rekindled.

Ms. Mitchell's writing style was certainly beautiful too, in addition to the premise of the novel. Everything flowed well, although there were a few times that the writing felt a bit gimmicky, like she was trying too hard. That didn't happen much, though, and I was mostly impressed. I was a bit confused by the switching of the time frames of the narrative, but was able to figure it out fairly quickly.

Other than a few nitpicky things about the writing itself, I enjoyed The Vespertine and look forward to hopefully buying The Springsweet and meeting Saundra Mitchell this weekend! I have a lot of unanswered questions about Amelia and am hoping they are answered in the next book!

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