The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
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 have to admit I was a bit hesitant to read this one, because even though I thought the premise sounded amazing and the cover was stunning as well, I hadn't been the biggest fan of Shadowed Summer, Saundra's first book. However, The Vespertine ended up surprising me in some pretty big ways, as not only was the writing gorgeous and almost lyrical but the overall premise was certainly fascinating as well.

Amelia has been sent from Maine to Baltimore, Maryland to live with her cousins for the summer. She's expected to be introduced into society and hopefully find a husband in the process. However, Amelia ends up getting more in Baltimore than she could have ever imagined. Within her cousin Zara, she gains a best friend, one who quickly introduces her to the fun side of Baltimore. Gaining a few new friends and possible husband candidates in the process, Amelia quickly begins to feel at home in Baltimore, especially when she uses her ability to see glimpses of the future to her advantage. Then she meets the intriguing and fascinating Nathaniel, a starving artist, and she's instantly taken to him. However, there's one tiny problem: Nathaniel isn't even close to the type of boy she should be bringing home with her. That's not even adding in the fact that her visions have suddenly turned dark and omniscient, and as they slowly begin to come true, Amelia begins to worry for own life as well as her new friends...

From the very first page, I was instantly charmed by how beautifully Saundra  told the story. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't too verbose or flowery but just the right amount to perfectly be able to capture the tone of the book and easily be able to bring the story and characters off the page and to life.

Another aspect of this book I enjoyed was the characters. Amelia was fun to read about based on her visions alone. Plus her personality often times was sarcastic and witty. Her friendship with Zara was a key point to the book as well, which made the fact that I enjoyed reading about Zara even better. Sweet yet mischievous, Zara was often one to speak her mind, so when her and Amelia were together, chaos and fun often enthused.

The plot of this also provided lots of fun, secrets, and drama. From the first page, I was instantly drawn into the book because it begins in Autumn of 1889 with Amelia remorseful about the summer and what had occurred and then switches to the beginning of summer. With that starting point, I couldn't wait to see what would happen, especially when at first everything seemed excellent for Amelia and her friends. I also enjoyed the addition of Amelia's visions and what they meant for the characters.

However, I had one little problem with this book that brought it down a notch or two, in my opinion. The problem was Nathaniel. Throughout the book Nathaniel is constantly described secretive and mysterious, which is where the problem laid, because besides those two things I really didn't know much about him. Even when Nathaniel and Amelia begin to start something up, little was divulged about him besides for one little thing that was never fully explained much to my dismay.

Even with that, Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine was still a great book, and with the shocking ending it contained, I'm eager to see the next two companion books, starting with The Springsweet which comes out early next year.

Grade: B+

The Vespertine is now out!

Source: Publisher via Netgalley


  1. This is the first review I've read for this book. It really sounds good. The setting sounds great.

  2. I was really excited to read this one. But I just can't get into it. :( Great review!

  3. I want to read this one! I love historical fiction, anyway and hearing that the prose is lovely makes me even more eager.


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