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The Vespertine

The Vespertine is a YA historical paranormal novel by Saundra Mitchell.

Sixteen-year-old Amelia van den Broek has been sent to stay with her cousins in Baltimore by her brother who wants her to have her time in society and find a good, appropriate husband – of which there aren’t many in their small town of Broken Tooth, Maine.

It’s 1889 in the summertime and all the pleasantries the city has to offer amaze Amelia and make her feel more like a na├»ve country girl than ever. But her cousin and companion Zora helps to introduce her to new friends as she begins to enjoy the new gowns, the parties, and the joviality. Though the one young man she feels inexplicably drawn to is not at all acceptable.

Then Amelia starts to have visions, amber-colored yet forceful and illusory, at sunset – and what she sees comes true. She’s seeing glimpses of the future. She can’t explain it and she’s doesn’t know why – but once words gets out about it she finds herself more popular than ever.

Acquaintances and strangers alike want her to peek into their futures – but what Amelia has to say is not always that big of a deal – nor, she learns, is it always pleasing. When her visions become darker and she starts to see things that burden her mind – her new life is thrown into chaos.

Because she is not the only one to wonder… is Amelia just seeing these new horrific things, or is she causing them?

The Vespertine left me speechless. Wow.

But now I have stuff to say. ;)

At first The Vespertine seemed simple – just a story about a girl in 1889 falling for an unsuitable guy and attending balls and such. Yet the initial chapter really provides an ominous, foreboding sensation that lingers on each page, especially as the story becomes increasingly creepy and disturbing. This paranormal historical novel becomes so much more as you factor in Saundra Mitchell’s ingeniously dramatic, gothic intensity as we jump forward to Autumn 1889 and get an occasional look into what is in Amelia’s future. Oooh boy.

But even with these evocative glimpses, it still took me a bit (though not too long) to really be captivated by the story. Soon, however, I was swept away by the zealous, restrained romance and lush, luxurious prose that soaks you in an atmosphere that is undeniably gripping.

I was constantly wondering where all of it would go as the spiritualism took twists and turns that sizzled with suspense. The Vespertine has “wowza!” developments and revelations that create an ethereal, stunning, amazing tone. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on this one-of-a-kind lyrical novel, you realize you don’t!

Yes, this is one heck of a dark, deep, and introspective book. The style is lovely, unique, startling, passionate, and unlike anything I’ve read for a long while. It’s utterly fantastic and breathtaking! I was literally frozen, caught up in the narrative – haunted, absorbed, mesmerized.

The Vespertine had me riveted to the very last word – and I must say that I was more than satiated. I mean – oh my goodness!!! Wow! I was gob smacked, and like I said earlier – speechless!

There’s going to be a companion novel coming soon called The Springsweet. You can count me among those hungry bibliophiles that will be waiting with bated breath – how about you?


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