Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
E-ARC (via Netgalley),
Date Published: March 7, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Amelia’s summer away from home and her overbearing brother is full of freedoms and adventure. She’s a young woman, but with her second cousin Zora, she’s a force to be reckoned with. The two girls live for slight misbehaviors and sidelong glances at boys they should not be after. Their interactions are very much sisterly and full of affection. Amelia’s instant attraction to Nathaniel, an unsuitable young man, is heady and delicious. Their encounters fan the flames of Amelia’s fiery heart and made me yearn for more.
If Mitchell’s vivid writing and incredible setting isn’t enough, Amelia’s sunset visions and the slow reveal of a ‘ruined girl’ make this impossible to put down. The time period lends so much to character development and growth because in 1889, young women were meant to be proper young ladies who did not go out alone and certainly did not attract or accept the attention of young men without the use of proper channels (i.e.: suitors calling on them). But Zora and Amelia enjoy flaunting the rules a bit and are much happier following their emotions and their hearts.
Mitchell’s writing, as I said before, is stunning. The words she weaves together form these beautiful sentences and this unforgettable story. It truly feels like the reader is not an outside party looking in, but someone who was there, alongside Amelia every step of the way. Amelia easily reels the reader with her tenacity and Nathaniel had me swooning with his straight-forward feelings without any pretenses or disguises. There is a sense of urgency throughout the book that makes it a page-turner. The autumn chapters in Maine that are interspersed throughout Amelia’s summer stay in Baltimore heighten the tension because it is clear that the future is not that bright. Getting there kept me on the edge of my seat.
The Vespertine is gorgeous and beautiful and full of words that made me sigh. Saundra Mitchell has created a story that I never thought I’d enjoy, yet I’ve discovered I love. Amelia, Zora, Nathaniel, and every single character in between are a delight to read; whether it’s for their good qualities or their bad. I wish this story was longer so I could have travelled along with Amelia through Baltimore, Maine, and anywhere the vespers would have taken her. I implore you – even if this doesn’t sound like your kind of story – read The Vespertine. It took me by surprise and I can only hope its magic works on you as well.
Opening line: I woke in Oakhaven, entirely ruined. ~ pg. 3
Favorite lines: “Only a fraud can promise you everything. It’s truth that has limits.” ~ pg. 166
And this one is gorgeous:Swept unsteady, I startled at the sweet pain that filled me. Since our first meeting, I ran mad with him; he ran wild in my veins. We had no quiet affection to spare between us, only tempting and taunting and impossible longings. ~ pg. 226
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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