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. – Goodreads
The Vespertine took me a few days to read, but I think it worked out for the best as it gave me time to truly appreciate and take in the beauty of Saundra Mitchell’s writing. There were many moments where I had to pause and just gaze adoringly at certain quotes. I’ll definitely be looking back to the passages I highlighted!
The main characters were equally easy to appreciate. I don’t care for the majority of friendships featured in YA, as they are often pushed aside once the love interest comes into the picture, but I felt a genuine connection with Zora and Amelia. On the romance angle of the book, I was surprised by Amelia’s urgency towards Nathaniel, and how quickly she was willing to push aside society’s conventions for him, but it was an intensity I enjoyed.
I do wish we had more background on the paranormal elements in the story. While I did appreciate the subtly of them – they never seemed to take over the story, allowing for a focus on the characters – there was no explanation. Why did Amelia gain her ability? Are the talents connected? Do other characters have any? Will there be a growing threat because of them in the future books, or will it be more on a personal level, just as it was in this book? So many questions! While I’m curious enough to continue the series, I feel like we should have had at least a few hints here and there.
I can’t say that the book completely grabbed me, but it was a read I enjoyed. Mitchell has a solid beginning to the series, and judging by my reactions to her writing in this one, I’m excited to see her work her magic with words again in the upcoming books!