Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quick Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The VespertineFrom the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

Though it was fun to read about teenage girls living it up in Victorian Baltimore society, this was rather frivolous reading, and I'd expected more. Despite the fact that Ms. Mitchell's writing style is gorgeous: melodious narrative, zippy dialogue and some fantastic imagery, there's not a lot of story substance or character development. At first Amelia came off as a serious country bumpkin with little common sense, and though she grew on me as the story progressed, she didn't change much. I kept wondering why she was so nonchalant and accepting of her new ability to see the future, and how she could be so naive about the danger of flouting her ability to anyone and everyone. I kept waiting for the big reveal, waiting to find out why/how/where Amelia and Nathaniel acquired these special talents, how they related to the rest of the world, what it meant, etc., but there was no explanation. So I was left feeling: OK, that's a nice ending, but what the heck is going on? I rate this three stars because the historical detail and overall atmosphere of the story were great, the premise was intriguing, and the mystery and forbidden love aspects kept me turning the pages, but at the end I was left with more questions than answers, and not in a good way.

Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance digital copy received from the publisher, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I hate feeling like that after reading a book. I had this one on my TBR pile but I think I will just skip over it for now. Thanks for the review...:D

  2. Ooh, that is the worst way to end a book! Thanks for this review; glad I read it before the book.

  3. Bummer. I had high hopes! :( But thanks for the honest review :)

  4. I seem to be in the minority on this one, so I would still encourage you all to give it a try :)

  5. I have an...interesting...award for you...LOL..check it out...:)


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