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Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

1) If you could grant your heroine, Amelia, a wish, just one wish, what do you think she'd wish for and why?

I think that Amelia would wish to be certain. She has a lot of self-doubt, and she would feel so much better if she were just certain about things. Of course, what she wants to know for sure changes on an hourly basis.


2) Why should The Vespertine appear on YA book lovers' wishlists? What about it do you think will appeal to readers the most?

That's so hard to say; I think that totally depends on the reader! But I do think The Vespertine will transport you. Whether you're most interested in the time period, or the girls' friendship, or the romances, or the spiritualism, or the gothic drama- I think readers will feel like they're in the middle of it with this book. Time travel in convenient hardcover format!


3) What is your biggest wish for The Vespertine?

It sounds so cheesy, but I feel like I already got my biggest wish. This was a book I wrote for myself, the kind of story I wanted to read. People said it would never sell, people said it was too historical for teens. Then Harcourt bought it, they've worked so hard on it, and now I'm seeing teens reading it and enjoying it. I'm just so happy that I got the chance to share this story; I love it like whoa!

Thanks for stopping by, again, Saundra! Happy BDAY to THE VESPERTINE! And check out my thoughts on it, below:

T h e V e s p e r t i n e by Saundra Mitchell
Release Date: 3/7/11
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Upcoming: The Springsweet (2012)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 293
Source: ARC/thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/NetGalley!
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kindle

Word Blurb: Maddening, dangerous, and otherwordly!
"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." Goodreads»»
This is my first true dive into YA historical romance, and I won't be looking back. I'm purposely going to seek out more! There was so much to love in this novel. THE VESPERTINE is an excellent blend of romance and the supernatural, set in a time period where women were obligated to give in to duty, rather than succumb to the heart...




Let me start off with Amelia, the heroine. She's a beatuiful character through and through. I enjoyed her personality, her thirst for life and her wildness. Her humor, her wit. Following the story through Amelia's eyes wasn't a hardship for me. I don't think there was a point where I can say that I disliked her. She was interesting, and stood out from the other girls like a strong tree amongst delicate flowers. (Yes, I pulled a simile. *laughs out loud*)

The other characters translated into an entertaining cast, the girls in Amelia's circle were more wicked and less concerned about being proper than most girls of the time period. I have to say, I feel a kinship with Zora, Amelia's best friend/cousin (?). She's a gentle mix of "half-good and half-wicked" (121), a companionable friend, one to have fun with and enjoy youth with but also one to cling to during difficult times. She's sweet yet demanding. Thoughtful of others yet selfish. A human being really, and I think that was the best part about her. She's a realistic character, a girl readers can possibly see amongst his/her own group of friends. Nathaniel was the perfect male specimen as far as additions to the cast - so was Thomas, though! - as he complemented Amelia so well, loving her intensely, and tossing aside the rules to be affectionate with her. Gorgeous he was, with a rough edge to him that thrilled me!

As far as the plot goes, it was mysterious and a bit on the spine-chilling side, emersed in an eerie air. I loved it! With Amelia having a strange, intense gift of foretelling the future, it brought on a lot of unfortunate or sinister events. It kept me going, reading the story with fascination. Saundra delivered the supernatural element in the book in unexpected doses, carrying her take on seeing the future with exquisite uniqueness.

Saundra's writing style really did me in. She reels you in with delicious detail and incomparable descriptive writing, effectively captivating you as far in as the first page. Her descriptions, her use of magnificent diction, kept me deeply invested in her story, adding a sophisticated air to her novel! And the ending left me happy and satisfied, not very frustrated or angry, yet I'm clutching the edge of my seat, forcing myself to stop shaking with anticipation! I'm dying for SPRINGSWEET, coming in 2012, the companion novel to THE VESPERTINE, which I think is going to be about Zora, but I can't be sure!

Favorite Scenes:
"'And you are Miss van den Broek,' he said, and kissed my hand.
The warmth of his mouth bloomed across my hand, and his nails skimmed the inside of my wrist. Such great sensation for so little a touch; I had to struggle to answer him. 'I am.'" (39)
"My dance card dangled from my wrist; he brushed the ribbon aside to kiss me there. Then he drew me to the floor, and the crowd dissolved. They could have danced in London, for as distant as they seemed. Nathaniel took one hand and rested his other on my waist, branding me deliciously.

We moved, somehow elemental. I felt like fire, the skies poured rain that rattled on the roof, the earth wavered to teach us the steps of this dance, and like air we floated across the floor together. We were all four points on the map, turning and turning like a compass." (111)

LOVED IT!

Thanks for reading!

4 comments:

Logan E. Turner said...

Like you, I love everything about this book. Great review!

A. Knight said...

Oh, that's great! It's nice to have someone to share the awesomeness with! Wasn't it just wonderful all around? And the ending... wasn't it totally unexpected?? Or was it just me?

yacrush said...

I'm reading this one now (only in chapter two, sadly). So excited because everyone seems to love it!

A. Knight said...

@YACrush, I absolutely loved and enjoyed it, if you can't already tell. My favorite part being the ending. Please, please, love it, lol. And I can't wait to see what your thoughts on it once you're done. :DD