Title: The Vespertine
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: March 7, 2011
Reading Level: YA
Synopsis (From Goodreads): 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 thoughts: This book was simply amazing! I love historical fiction so that was a huge bonus for me! Then, add in a little forbidden romance and the paranormal and you have a hit!
Amelia is sent to Maryland to become a lady and find herself a "proper" husband. She stays with her cousins while there. Zora and Amelia immediately become best friends. I loved both Amelia and Zora. Amelia was very headstrong and independent, especially for a woman of that time. Zora is more ladylike and sweet. I really enjoyed her character and found both of them well developed and fun!
Nathaniel and Thomas were also great characters. Nathaniel was so mysterious and as a "fourteenth", he was not a proper prospect for Amelia. Despite that, the romance that ignites between them is undeniable. The more we find out about him in the book, the more I liked him. All these characters were completely real to me and believable!
I really liked how the author made Amelia's "gift" seem almost like a game at first. Even Zora's mom laughed about the girls' "parlor trick" making the popular, as once the word got out that Amelia could see the future, the girls received many calling cards. However, things go terribly wrong at the end of the book and we really see how serious the situation is.
I liked the switch from the present day, where Amelia is left in her brother and sister-in-laws care, to the past, where you find out why Amelia's brother is treating her so poorly. I honestly have to say that I did not like Amelia's brother at all (yet he was a great character!) but loved her sister-in-law, Lizzie.
I loved how this book caught my attention from page one and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. The story had just enough historical detail to really set the scenes but not too much that it made it boring. The ending left you begging for more!