The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Release Date: March 7, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
The Story: (from Harcourt) 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: Amelia's goal upon spending the summer with her cousin in Baltimore is to find a suitable husband. Amelia immediately becomes close with her cousin Zora. Their relationship is just one of the wonderful components in this book. Their friendly and humorous banter keep the story light and interesting even in it's darker moments.
It isn't long after Amelia arrives in Baltimore that Amelia falls for someone she could never truly be with. Nathaniel Witherspoon swept Amelia (and me) off her feet. He's charming, handsome and completely wrong for her in every way. As an artist, he would never truly be able to support Amelia but this doesn't stop Amelia from seeking him out just as much as he does her. This element of forbidden love would have been enough to carry this book on it's own but Mitchell has more in store for you than meets the eye.
Amelia's visions only come at sunset and bring a certain otherworldly surprise to the book that is both mysterious and haunting. Amelia's talent makes her and her cousin, Zora, quite popular around Baltimore with nearly every household calling on them to see the future. These visions are not always pleasant and we soon learn that seeing the future happen doesn't necessarily equal understanding it. Tragedy soon falls on those around Amelia and it's then that we learn what truly happens to turn her world so upsidedown.
Set in the 1800's, The Vespertine is a delightful read from start to finish. The writing was elegant, detailed and fascinating to read. I felt like I was right there in Baltimore with Amelia and thoroughly enjoyed every word on the pages. I would definitely recommend The Vespertine!