Author: Saundra Mitchell
Coming March 2011 from Harcourt Children’s Books
Review from uncorrected proof courtesy of NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
About the book:(from press kit)
The summer of 1889 is the one between childhood and womanhood for Amelia van den Broek-and thankfully, she’s not spending it at home in rural Maine. She’s been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry.
Archery in the park, dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance-Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. 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. Newly dubbed “Maine’s Own Mystic”, Amelia is suddenly quite in demand.
However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora’s circle, 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. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.
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.
*** WARNING: Lots of gushing to follow!***
This is quite simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever encountered. For starters, the cover is gorgeous! I love the dress, the motion, the colors, the text… **sigh** It’s just lovely.
For those who judge a book by its cover, this one sets the bar pretty high! Thankfully what is inside the covers is even more beautiful. I have to say it: Saundra Mitchell is amazing at setting the tone of a story. She wowed me with her first book Shadowed Summer (if you didn’t read it you really missed out!) and kept it up with The Vespertine. I just get caught up in her writing style. It flows so beautifully and her phrasing literally makes me stop and reread sentences aloud so that I can hear them spoken.
From the first page I felt connected to the story. I was transported to another time, another place, another way of thinking. As a reader I love it when the story becomes more than just something I’m reading, when the characters become more than just names on paper. In The Vespertine I could feel the intensity, the urgency, and the heart of the main character. I felt involved. I so desperately wanted things to go well for her because I didn’t want MY heart to get broken. To a lesser degree I felt this for many of the other characters as well. I was invested as well as interested in what happened to them.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nathaniel. ***sigh*** Oh Nathaniel, you’re a bit of a rouge aren’t you? ***flutters eyelashes*** I LIKE a rouge! I may not see the future in the vespers but I can see it in your eyes. ***wink, wink*** Ahem, umm, errrr…. sorry. I got distracted. Back to the review…
I could go on and on about this book and Saundra Mitchell in general. You can learn more about the book and Saundra at http://thevespertine.com/. Follow Saundra on twitter @SaundraMitchell.