Yes, I'm a little late. Congratulations to Miss Saundra Mitchell and the release of THE VESPERTINE on Monday!
THE VESPERTINE by Saundra Mitchell
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.
How I got it: I was fortunate enough to have access to a galley of THE VESPERTINE, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books. Thank you!
Cover: Can you think of a better, more beautiful cover for a historical romance? Because I can't. The coloring choices were well done, and I love the little wisp on the model's eye, knowing she is able to catch glimpses of the future. The design seeps into the book itself, with special separators that match the story as well. Smart choices.
Plot: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I love this book. The plot should be simple. Amelia is sent to Baltimore where she stays with Zora and her family, who becomes a close friend. She's there to search for a suitable husband and make friends. Everything is going so well, and then Amelia starts having visions when she looks into the sunset. This only serves to make her popular, with many callers hoping to get a glimpse into his or her future. But things start to get complicated, then it all goes horribly wrong.
Everything in this novel is building. All the little things I didn't understand and was confused by in the beginning now start to make sense. But each event builds on each other until it brings the arch to a stunning climax. I quite literally squealed with delight when I reached the ending, and instantly started reading the beginning again. And just when I thought things were starting to slow down, something would happen to start my heart racing again.
Characters: Amelia has just the right amount of excited in being in a new place without being annoying. I love her sweet disposition. The more I read, the more I loved listening to her and the more I wanted to read more of her story. She is just as confused and delighted by her interesting power, a "parlor trick" that ends up being a very deep part of who she is, and leads her to some dark places.
I fell head over heals for Nathaniel. He has just the right amount sweet mixed with a huge amount of mystery. I swooned over him every time he entered the scene. He pushes his limits, but still cares what other people think and does try to protect Amelia's reputation. Um, Saundra? Where can I get a Nathaniel?
Writing: This is everything I could have ever asked for in a historical romance. It's everything I love about classic victorian writers – and I mean everything – and none of the silly things that bother me. Saundra does a fantastic job and giving just enough detail about something period that I understand, without bogging me down with unnecessary excess details. She has fantastic descriptions that don't go overboard like I've read in many other historical novels. And Saundra leaves in a fantastic amount of mystery weaved oh-so-cleverly into the story.
Overall: I'm running to the bookstore to pick this up now. I'm giving this book a completely well-deserved five of five stars. Oh I love this book so much. Really everyone, if you like a little bit of paranormal, a little bit of romance and a whole lot of mystery in your books, you'll love this. Like, completely.
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