Friday, April 29, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell Review

The Vespertine
By Saundra Mitchell
March 7, 2011
Harcourt Children's Books, 304 pages

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.

— description

Part historical fiction and part paranormal, this story is definitely a fresh take on both genres. But it was only so-so for me.

I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that it started with a flashback. This is just a personal preference – for some reason immediate flashbacks get me all sorts of discombobulated. I had to put it down a few times.

I’m glad I picked it back up, though, because Mitchell has a lyrical writing style that I found really intriguing.

She’d be describing how Amelia got swept away in her visions and her manic romance with Nathaniel, and you could just feel the insanity of their lust, the colors of the sunset, through her words. It was a very visual writing style that did get my heart beating.

Definitely worth checking out if you’re a historical fiction fan who is open to paranormal. Many thanks to NetGalley and Harcourt for a e-galley version of this book for review.

You might also like: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Anna Reads young adult book blog


  1. I've heard really good things about this book! I must check it out :)

  2. I loved Revolution so maybe I'll like this one too! I also went to college in Baltimore and it's always interesting to read about places you know well :)

  3. I loved Revolution, so I suppose if these are similar books, I bet I will love The Vespertine.

    Fab review!

  4. I fell in the middle on this one as well. I thought it was beautifully written but slow going. I do think fans of historical fiction will really like it a lot.


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