Series: The Vespertine #1
Published by Harcourt Children's Books
Pub Date: March 7th 2011
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
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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.
I really liked that The Vespertine began towards the end of the story, at a point where Amelia is not doing so well, then we are taken back to see how it came to be this way. It sucks you in instantly and makes you want to get to the bottom of it!
Amelia and Zora bond really quickly and their friendship is really endearing. They act like sisters, teasing and playful but also protective of one another. One of the things that was different in this book, which I immensely liked, was that both Amelia and Zora had a love interest, and it wasn’t the same guy! They each had their own sweetheart to swoon over. No fighting with your best friend over a guy in this book! I loved that!
Zora’s love interest is the tall, blond, handsome, gentlemanly Thomas Rae. Zora and Thomas follow all the appropriate courting rules. They are the prime example of how courting should be in this time period. Unlike Amelia and Nathaniel, who have a more daring attraction, Zora and Thomas’s is more sweet. Nathaniel Witherspoon. A painter with a very interesting face and an even more intriguing personality. He is mysterious and his manners, for this time period anyway, are scandalizing! He is also off limits to Amelia, which of course makes him way more enticing to her.
Another thing that was different was the supernatural elements in the story. I haven’t read anything like them before. I do wish we would have learned more about what makes Amelia and Nathaniel the way they are though.
Amelia is having a great time in Baltimore, with her new friends, the dances, Nathaniel, her newfound fame…until one of her premonitions, a bad one, comes to pass. That was unexpected and it left me in shock! Then came more shocks! Heartbreaking ones that had me in tears!! Saundra Mitchell caught me unaware. I thought I was having fun, too! With the new friends and the dances and Nathaniel, then BAM! Tears.
The Vespertine leaves us with a bittersweet ending that I would not have any different. After finishing this book you will find yourself reliving it in your mind, remembering the girl’s gossip about first love and marriage, your first dance with the boy you dream about, the lush Victorian setting, and the heartbreak. This book is a must read! I would recommend it to everyone, especially people who are reluctant about historical fiction!