I really did give this book a try.The concept of this book is great and the new cover is beautiful compared to the first ARC cover but the biggest fault that lies with this story is the writing It seems the author was trying to invoke the elegant and grandiose style of the time period, but instead it comes off as forced, difficult, and almost like she was trying too hard For a large part of the book I was very confused and it then in effect distanced me from the characters who I couldn t connect with After over 100 pages, if I can t find something to attach to then what s the point I never really got the feel from the prose of the whole late 1800s feel that this story is supposed to have It seemed of a half hearted effort than something solid.I m sad I did not enjoy this book I did give it a good try but it s just not for me I m sure a lot of other people will find enjoyment out of it though. No First, tell me you love me, as you have no one else The wind roared around us, like a great storm come off the waves Nathaniel tightened his arms around me and said Jump with me And I did Set in 1889 Victorian era, sixteen year old Amelia van den Broek is sent to Balti to stay her cousin Zora, in hopes to find a proper husband.While I m sure her brother wouldn t approve of an artist as a well suitor, never the less, Amelia as her eyes on the dashing Nathaniel Witherspoon Only he has a secret that weaves with her future A future Amelia can see and frightfully watches come trueThe Vespertine was a real treat to read since I ve always been fascinated with Victorian era settings and love how each word just rolls of the tongue like a crisp caress.Saundra Mitchell pens an elegant and beautiful love story of a girl who has a gift but spells out like a curse, and a boy who harbors an unreachable talent of his own.Not quite a forbidden romance, but like kindred spirits who are entwined with hopeful possibilities My heart really went out to Amelia To see such events and witness the reality was both sad and thrilling I really enjoyed the bond she shared with Zora It was comfortable with easy banter and wit.Nathaniel s paranormal element was quite unique and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story In brought of a haunting romance to the storyline that I thought fit the era smoothly.There flirt is like watching a well rehearsed dance and I just adored those moments Beautiful words Beautiful chemistry.The only thing that confused me was the first chapter since the character has already been pulled back from the the initial storyline and we re actually reading flashbacks from that point on, but after the second chapter I caught on so it didn t take anything away from the experience.Overall, I thought that The Vespertine was a charming and enchanting read The characters are well defined, mysterious and tantalizing and the concept, while not entirely original, was still very captivating and entertaining I m going to have to pick up a copy of this book as soon as it hits the shelves.Can t wait to see what Saundra Mitchell has in store for us next Well done It S The Summer Of , And Amelia Van Den Broek Is New To Balti 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 Balti This Enigmatic Young Man Is Keeping Secrets Of His Own Still, Amelia Finds Herself Irrepressibly Drawn To HimWhen 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 If The Vespertine had begun with the same awesomeness with which it concluded, it would have been a five star read Unfortunately, about eighty percent of the book was devoted to the sort of utterly terrible writing that made me want to pull my hair out The plot inched along, hidden somewhere in the midst of fashion, parties and giggling girls Amelia van der Broek has been sent to Balti by her brother to contract a suitable marriage She is invited to stay at her cousin s house, where she almost immediately becomes fast friends with the daughter of the house, Zora Stewart Amelia also immediately falls for a penniless artist, Nathaniel Witherspoon, who is invited to dinner on her first day in Balti She discovers on the very same day that she has suddenly acquired a new power, that of being able to foresee the future in a vision, but only at sunset After this highly eventful first day, Mitchell decides to give her heroine a break from the drama and instead writes endlessly about mindless nothing It isn t until much later that Balti society discovers Amelia s talent for prediction and begins to solicit her company Inevitably, Amelia s visions turn dark, tragedy strikes, she becomes an outcast and begins to doubt her powers I really struggled with the writing style in this book Who knew the left hand was also called the sinister hand And that Arabers, in Balti slang were actually outdoor vendors But it wasn t just the use of archaic terms that made the writing hard to digest In an effort to replicate a late eighteenth century voice, Saundra Mitchell goes overboard The conversations are overly formal and phrased awkwardly The descriptions are wordy and cumbersome The entire tone of the book screams trying too hard This pseudo Victorian work of fiction was harder to understand and process than all of the actual Victorian literature I have read The plot is like swiss cheese Amelia s power is the worst developed paranormal trope I have seen in a long time For this sort of power, there ought to be a threshold, or a place of power so why do her visions start only when she comes to Balti What set them off Why didn t she get them in Broken Tooth before How did she get them in Broken Tooth after view spoiler How does Nathaniel s power work How long has he had it Has he ever met anyone who equals the remaining elements hide spoiler Synopsis It s the spring and summer of 1889 in Balti, Maryland Amelia van den Broek has come from Maine to stay with her fashionable cousins, the Stewarts, in the hopes of learning a bit of culture and the skills to land herself a suitable marriage match Amelia is thrilled to be in the big city with her cousin She has led such a sheltered life in Maine, being raised by her older brother August, that the freedom of the city and the glitter of the fashionable parties and people overwhelm Amelia.What s overwhelming is Nathanial Witherspoon, an artist that Amelia meets at a dinner party Having no real means of employment, Nathaniel is not considered to be a suitable marriage match for Amelia, but Amelia can t help but feel connected to him and intrigued by the mysterious quality about him.But Nathaniel isn t the only one that mystery surrounds Shortly after arriving in Balti, Amelia is attending a party and is standing near a window as the sun begins to set As the sun sinks below the horizon, Amelia has a vision She sees her cousin dancing with her beau in a beautiful new dress Amelia tells her cousin, Zora, about the vision, but the two are stunned when the vision comes true.After that, Amelia discerns that her visions come to her only at sunset, at the time when priests are at their vespers, and that if she concentrates hard enough, she can control who her vision is regarding People begin to clamor for Amelia s attention and want her to see their future But when Amelia s visions turn dark and she predicts a tragedy, people begin to see Amelia not as a vessel of information, but the cause of the darkness that surrounds them.Review I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley I appreciate the publisher allowing me to read it prior to release, and I appreciate that this book was free, because I did not enjoy it at all I try to always look for and find something positive to say about a novel that I didn t really care for, but I cannot say that I enjoyed a single thing about this book.So what were my problems with this book For starters, I did not enjoy Mitchell s writing style or Amelia s narrative voice I read quite a bit of historical fiction and I ve never encountered such an affected, forced, and often fake sounding feeling narrative voice and construct Much of the explanatory passages, character interactions, and general details of the novel had the feeling of having been written by someone who didn t research the language usage of the time period, and simply wrote how they thought it should sound This was a major dent in the story for me because the story felt fake I didn t feel like I was in 1889 while reading it I felt like I was reading 2011 pretending to be 1889.Because there was this fake feeling to the novel as a whole, I really had trouble liking the characters Amelia, who is the narrator and protagonist, was very annoying, as were most of the female characters in the novel All the characters felt so untrue from a historical fiction standpoint that I couldn t connect to any of them.There s a supernatural element to this novel with Amelia s visions and Nathaniel s mysterious gift Amelia having visions was OK Not really that interesting, though Nathaniel s gift was outright hokey and ridiculous Aside from the boring and ridiculous aspects, there was absolutely no sort of explanation as to where the gifts came from, why Amelia never experienced them in Maine, and what exactly triggered the visions in Maryland.And then there was the ending of the novel I don t do spoilers, so I am not going to give any great detail on the ending, but it was so slapdash, and totally outside the realm of the believable for a book set in 1889, that it just further entrenched my dislike of the book Sometimes, a great ending can save what would have been just a mediocre novel I had hope that was what would happen with this book, but it did not.Overall, this book was very disappointing If you still want to give it a try, I definitely recommend you check out a copy from the library I would have been very upset if I had spent money on this book. This was an odd book I didn t love it, but I didn t hate it either Girl is shipped to the Big City to live with Distant Cousin find a suitable husband Girl Distant Cousin become BFFs Girl falls into Insta Lust with an unsuitable Artist Guy Girl suddenly discovers she has a talent for catching flashes of future events when she stares at the sunset Distant Cousin convinces Girl to reveal her gift to Distant Cousin s other BFFs Antics ensue, some of which are wacky some of which are deadly Reason for Girl s despondancy is revealed Cue the dramatic piano chords While the author didn t use present tense THANK YOU , the voice had an odd rhythm Sometimes it sounded authentic other times it was ethereal, like slow plotted lit fic, the metaphors could be jarring The dialogue also had an odd cadence I think the author was trying to be subtle, but she was a bit too heavy handed with the mysterious conversations It wasn t so much what was on the page, but what was NOT on the page text gaps chapter breaks obviously had development that we the reader were not allowed to see, so the character growth could be clunky Re MCs, Amelia has a tendency to judge based on appearance e.g., her sister in law is a Plain Jane, therefore she ll never understand how much it hurts to have one s heart compromised by sorrow misunderstanding eye roll And Nathaniel, the Unsuitable Artist, is uber beta He doesn t really contribute much he just wears oddly colored jackets to fancy dinners lives in a loft with some other artist guy has a Big Important Supernatural Secret that makes him the perfect match for Amelia, apparently Whatever you say, hon P My dearest Nathaniel, you re such a rebel You wear bright plaid jackets to the park swoonBut for all the overly subtle writing, it was nice to read a delicate YA PNR Amelia s supernatural gift was interesting I wish we d seen of the process I thought the secondary romance was interesting than Amelia s possibly because Zora was vibrant as a character I also wanted to hear about the BFFs, especially Sarah her relationship with Caleb view spoiler , who was fabulously psycho hide spoiler A beautiful, rich, Victorian era story that is both haunting and romantic The Vespertine reads like a classic and has a voice that stays with you long after you read it.Set in the 1800 s in both Balti Maine, The Vespertine quickly made me feel like I was apart of this world With Saundra s rich, vivid writing I was able to see the world through adventurous Amelia s eyes Amelia is a character I really enjoyed getting to know Upon arriving in Balti for the purpose of finding a husband, she falls for someone she shouldn t Which of course makes me like her that much , as her spunk, and fierce independence are what drew me to her character Amelia and her cousin Zora become well known upon society for Amelia s gift to see the future Having visions isn t always a gift, as not all of them are pleasant, nor are they always what Amelia thinks she s seeing.To match Amelia s character is an equally lovable character who you could deem as swoon worthy with an air of mystery about him Believe me, Nathaniel Witherspoon will have you swept off your feet in no time and you ll find him just as charming as Amelia does With Nathaniel there is no second guessing what he s feeling or thinking, as he s very straightforward, something rarely seen during this time period Maybe it s that streak of defiance, or that you get what you see with him that I admire the most Both Amelia and Nathaniel stand out as they know their place in society, but they push that envelope, so to speak I adored the respect he shows to Amelia.There s just something about Nathaniel that I was drawn to and all I can say is you need to read the book so you can meet him for yourself.There are other great characters that make The Vespertine a highly recommended story, but it s Saundra writing that really captured my attention She has a talent for detail, no matter how great or small it is and she really brings her story to life It wasn t hard for me to envision the settings or picture the characters in my mind Her romance is beautifully written, the lines between Nathaniel and Amelia are brilliant and her plot twists make you wish you could read the pages faster to find out what will happen next.The Vespertine is a breath taking, intriguing read that will make you feel that you re apart of 1800 s Victorian Era It s forbidden romance, mystery and paranormal elements will leave you both satisfied and wanting when you re done. The Vespertine is a haunting blend of romance, mystery, and the supernatural Saundra Mitchell s writing is rich, and her imagery swept me away to another time Her Victorian setting creates the perfect mood, and her descriptions touched all of my senses it was like I could smell the scent of the apple, feel the touch of the silk, hear the music from the ball Gorgeous writing, a lush atmosphere, and a forbidden romance combine into a heart aching, intriguing novel.I adore how a Victorian setting can make your heart ache at even a brush of a hand Saundra is a master at setting your heart aflutter with a longing look or a glancing touch She makes even a kiss on the hand so beguiling The delicious flirting and tantalizing brief touches between Amelia and Nathaniel had me reading at a feverish pace to get to the next moment when they d be together again However, I grew tired of Amelia s teasing games and bossy orders to Nathaniel At times, she seemed too capricious and prideful, and she didn t seem quite penitent enough at the end for everything that had happened.In addition to creating a captivating forbidden romance, Saundra brilliantly develops a touching friendship between Zora and Amelia So many heroines in young adult books seem to be loners or have terrible friends, so the admiration and support Zora and Amelia offer each other is refreshing.Where I feel The Vespertine falters is in the supernatural aspects Amelia and Nathaniel s gifts are fundamental to the story, but we receive no explanation or exploration into the origins of these gifts The characters seem to accept their gifts with no questions asked, and I wanted much asking It was like the paranormal aspects were presented, we were all supposed to accept them, and there were to be no questions about where it all came from Who is Nathaniel exactly Perhaps the sequel will delve into the origins of these gifts and provide some answers.The underdeveloped paranormal aspects aside, Saundra Mitchell s The Vespertine is lush and romantic with beautiful imagery and lyrical prose Prepare to be swept away by a story that will touch all the senses. God How to start this review First, I need to say that finishing this book was a real feat of strength and took every ounce of patience I had in reserve This is me after I finished the novel Now that we established that let s start with the review Amelia is a 16 year old girl who moves to Balti and to her cousin s house in the summer of 1889 in order to get acquainted with eligible young bachelors of similar status and find a husband She and Zora, her cousin, quickly become best friends and Zora soon goads Amelia to explore and use her newfound gift to see glimpses of the future for entertainment In the meantime Amelia falls in love with Nathaniel, a mysterious bohemian artist and thus a forbidden match for her, since he s beneath her station Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies but what happens when her forebodings turn inauspicious And is Nathaniel keeping secrets of his own This was a book I REALLY wanted to read and the blurb sounded tantalizing and promishing, the reality though couldn t be of a let down First things first I ll start with the good stuff, the novel had beautiful and lush prose that was even evocative at times and was really fitting of the Victorian like era The description of the late 19th century Balti was wonderfully done as was the depiction of the society at that time You get a very good picture of what was considered exceptable for a young lady back then not many things and you sympathise with Zora s and Amelia s frustration and tendency for mischief or wicked acts as the girls called them Amelia and Zora s personalities are satisfactory portrayed and there s depth to them with Zora being the bright star and Amelia being the introvert type but with a dry wit and moments of audacity It was nice watching their easy friendship bloom and how they came to rely upon and support each other And now THE UGLY STUFFThough the first 10 pages or so manage to get you hooked by giving you a tingle of impeding DOOM 200pages later nothing has happened SERIOUSLY NOTHING We just see the girls talk about their feelings and wants, hung out together with other girls and boys in parks, promenades and balls, dance, practice archery, flirt and go to school Sure Amelia sees glimpses of the future but even that she doesn t do it that often until after the middle of the book I wouldn t mind that much all these if there was a plot somewhere in there, a momentum to carry the story forward, alas, what I was thinking while reading the book was Plotwhere art thouThe second thought I had was poking my eyes out, I thout it would be far interesting and less painfull I know Sick thought but I was growing desperate And what can I say about the romance between Nathaniel and Amelia To say that it was under developed would be an understatement The moment Amelia sees him feels an instant and overwhelming attraction while Nathaniel appears throughout the novel out of thin air, drops a sexy vague line and disappears the same way and that s almost what we know about him ok we learn something but would be a spoiler if revealed so of course this is enough to lead to passionate declarations of love from both sides faster than you can say WHIPLASH So why 3stars instead of 2 Because of the last 80pages where everything literally go to hell, we re talking about ancient greek tragedy going to hell proportions being Greek I know what I m talking about the pace didn t just pick up in these last pages, it made an olympic record and the twist was so unexpected eventhough you knew it was coming that almost took my breath away So This was a book with a lot of potential and a failed execution This novel was received by NetGalley for reviewing, thank you NetGalley Eh, nothing to write home about Two things work for this story the gorgeous cover and the book s concept a mix of supernatural and historical fiction But the final product is just not very enticing The prose attempts to be historically appropriate but comes off as labored and too flowery As for the plot, I only have read two chapters and have no will to continue I am sure there will be readers satisfied with this novel, but I have read better 30 pages is enough page time to recognize this book is not going to work for me.
Saundra Mitchell is the author of SHADOWED SUMMER, THE VESPERTINE, THE SPRINGSWEET, THE ELEMENTALS and MISTWALKER In non fiction, she s the author of the THEY DID WHAT series for middle grade readers She s also the editor of the YA anthology DEFY THE DARK IN 2018, HarlequinTEEN will publish her next anthology, ALL OUT.Writing as Jessa Holbrook, she published her first romantic contemporary YA
- 293 pages
- The Vespertine
- Saundra Mitchell
- 01 January 2017 Saundra Mitchell