Monday, April 11, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell


The summer of 1889 is the one between childhood and womanhood for Amelia van den Broek—and thankfully, she’s not spending it at home in rural Maine. Shes 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 disturbing, dreamlike vision she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to her prophecies. Newly dubbed “Maine’s Own Mystic,” Amelia 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 has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.

When on 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.

  • Number of pages: 293

I happen to go back to 1889. Crazy, huh? Well it’s true. This book acted like a portal for me back into the past, and a little secret between you and me? I have always wanted to do that! Now, I can’t really say if it was a historic type of novel with paranormal aspects or maybe fantasy mixed in. But does it matter? What matters is that everything came together in the end to create an amazing novel.

Set back: you have to be on alert the first couple of pages because if you are like me you might get a bit lost. There was a moment of complete confusion in the first couple of chapters that I really had no clue what was going on, who was who, and where they were . . . rest assured that I am a “pretty smart girl”, says my parents, and did eventually figure everything out. (Did you have any doubts?)

Now I absolutely loved everything historic about this novel. Everything was perfectly detailed from the dresses, to the way the language was used, to the . . . I don’t know everything! It all had a very antique feel to it that was extra special to the story. I’m surprised I didn’t end up speaking all prim and proper! (Unlike today where the language is all abbreviated and like straight up lol) I completely loved it.

The psychic part was in a bit of a short supply for a book based on a girl with the gift to see into the future. It started near the middle of the book. It wasn’t like the main feature even then, it was just this extra part in it. I don’t say that complaining. I think it was just the right amount, I’m saying this so you wont just into this book expecting paranormal activities all through this book. In all the girly, frilly moments of this book there was also an equal amount of sadness and depression mixed in from the effects of Amelia’s predictions. It made it all the more special for me because it didn’t seem fake, it seemed very truthful. If at the end of the book they said that everyone ended perfectly happy eating cakes and tea in the parlor then everything that the author was building up to would have totally been a fail. It’s not the most cheerful of conclusion, but it was romantic, perfect, and satisfying. From 1-10? I give The Vespertine an 8.5!

* Note * what really frustrated me was that I had no clue what a verpertine was. In fact, I still don’t know! Or how it has anything to do with the book. I remember it saying something about how Amelia looked into the “Vespers” for her predictions. I looked up what “vespertine” was in the dictionary and something about evening prayers, or something about the evening came up. I guess that makes sense since she looked into the future only at sunset. Hope you have better luck deciphering out what that means! If anyone finds out what it has to do with the book write a comment or something to let me know! Please&thankyou(:


  1. I really can't wait to read this...there's a spot on my shelf for a good historical YA. Thanks for the review! Sarah

  2. You're very welcome!! Always glad to help a fellow historical fiction loverr!!