Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publishing Date: February 7th, 2011
ISBN: 9780547482477
Pages: 293 pgs

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

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 Review:

I was very excited to get this book for review from NetGalley. It has been getting a lot of hype lately and I am glad that I was able to read it. It is set during the last 19th century and I really liked reading about all the clothes and customs of that time. It is funny to compare the way Amelia date to the way that dating happens today. Then they went to dances, with date cards, and had to have escorts to court. Kissing was scandalous, dating always lead to marriage and you had to marry within your own class or higher. Nowadays dating doesn't have to be about getting married, sex is barely scandalous and you can date whomever you want regardless of social class, race or sex. I'm not sure which is better; I believe there are advantages and disadvantages of both. Dating in the 19th century has a certain kind of mystery and naiivity that just isn't present today. That being said there was so much prejudice back then and I sometimes think that many people who got married were essentially strangers. I also enjoyed the future teller part of the story. Amelia is able to see things that will happen in the future and not all of these things are positive. I found it interesting how the author tied this into the plotline. The reason I only gave this book 3.5 stars is because I found at times that the book lagged a bit. It seemed that there would be long periods where not too much was happening. I also wasn't too sure on the ending of the novel. While the rest of the book was slow I found the ending to be a bit rushed. I'm fairly certain there will be a sequel to this book and it will be interesting to see where the story goes. I would recommend reading this if only for the vivid picture of the 19th century.

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