Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vesterptine
by Saundra Mitchell

Genre: Young Adult | Historic | Romance | Supernatural

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. She’s 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.

Archery in the park, dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance-Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. 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. 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 cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.

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 moves in with her cousins in Baltimore for the spring/summer of 1889 to experience a season full of fashionable dances & dinner parties, risky meetings with boys, and parlor visits for tea & gossip. Along the way, she indulges in spiritualists performances, which were the entertaining highlights of the time, like Lady Privalovna and Miss Avery at the local theater. Purely by chance, Amelia becomes a bit of a silly sensation among her friends when she has a vivid image of her cousin Zora dancing at the upcoming ball and ever details plays out. Before she knows it, word spreads of her unique parlor gift and callers all over Baltimore come for a reading by "Maine's Own Mystic, Miss Amelia can den Broek" (pg. 165) Yet, not all predictions are good and Amelia finds she is beginning to hold back what she sees, keeping secrets of dark truths that are bound to happen. Things become even stranger, when the boy, Nathanial, she is developing feelings for reveals startlingly truths about himself as well. Can Amelia face the pressures of just how powerful and haunting her psychic powers are becoming all while on the hunt for a decent husband and proper social standing?

'Not all that glitters is gold' would be the perfect motto from The Verpertine. Amelia is a head-strong girl that I immediately liked. You can tell she's damaged goods right off from the beginning of the story and that adds a lot to her character development throughout - something I always admire in a good book. Her cousin, Zora, was probably my favorite character since she's so deliciously evil and sweet. Together they are a frightful combination and when Amelia's power of foretelling the future becomes known, Zora becomes her quick-minded assistant in setting up the proper meetings. Yet, things easily get carried away when some of Amelia's morbid readings become unexpectedly true and the tables quickly turn. All in all, I liked this book, it was invigorating since the setting/plot was not all that common for a young adult tale, so I hope you enjoy it as well.

Likes: I'm excited Book #2 -- The Springsweet in the series will focus on Zora Stewart, yayy! April 2012

Dislikes: I highly enjoy historical stories, but if this book would have had a little bit more creative insight, some extra spark within the characters, and even some much needed oomph to the overall tale, it would have received a higher rating from me. Yet, sadly, it dragged out and played almost too leisurely for my taste to get anything higher than 4 out of 5.


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