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The Vespertine: Saundra Mitchell

Monday, April 18, 2011
I heard about this book on Good Reads and decided to place a hold on it.  I read the book in about 2 days, meandering over a few other books as well.  I can't say I loved it, but I enjoyed the novel. 
The book is written in the flavor of 1889, the words and actions are flowery and overdone.  The setting varies from Broken Tooth, Maine to Baltimore, Maryland.  The main character, Amelia, is sent to live with her relatives in Baltimore as a kind of "coming out" to society and a chance to snag a husband.  Amelia is dramatic and incessantly curious of the new events and environment surrounding her.
The reader finds Amelia in a depressed state back at her familial home with her brother and his wife.  From there the novel progresses through the events that led up to Amelia's morose.  At her relatives' house, Amelia becomes friends with her stylish cousin, Zora.  It is at that house that Amelia discovers her strange gift: she can see futures in the "vespers"/as the sun is setting.  With Zora, Amelia begins regularly using her gift for her friends and classmates.  She thinks highly of her gift and impresses even high members of society (mostly young females she meets).  Throughout this eventful discovery, Amelia finds herself falling in love with Nathaniel.  Nathaniel is a mysterious character, unfortunately, he doesn't have the money or status necessary to truly court Amelia, rendering their meetings and "dates" secret.  For a few chapters the book follows Amelia pushing the limits of her gift and even hosting "seance" type activities. 
Happiness never lasts forever, Amelia fails to predict the demise of someone very important to both her and Zora, leaving a certain character (not Zora) very mad at her and out to kill.  This is where the action heats up and the reader, who has been skimming along, really gets drawn into the novel. 
The ending is satisfactory with a slight cliff hanger.  I would recommend this book to young teens/adults (female), who enjoy fantasy and romance.  For me, the book was too flowery, but I know that some readers enjoy the true "flavor" of a book and will like the writer's dialogue. 


  1. I tried reading this one about 3 times but man, it was so depressing I just couldn't bring myself to keep going.