Monday, March 7, 2011

The Vespertine

Saundra Mitchell

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.

My Take:

I was really excited to read this "Victorian Gothic" novel, but found myself disappointed upon completion of something quite silly and, to me, unappealing.  The story had some great elements I find interesting: historical setting, romance, creepy undertones and a bit of paranormal mixed in.  However, put together in this particular combo didn't float my boat.  Half the book felt like a regular historical fiction, then all of a sudden it got very paranormal and creepy culminating in the absolutely silly ending.  Just because a book is paranormal or fantasy doesn't mean you can suspend reality completely.  The characters' emotions and reactions should be anchored in realism and logic, but alas, it was not to be.  I hate to use this word, because I think it is pretentiously overused in the world of critique, but in this case, I think it is warranted.  The word is: contrived.  The plot didn't feel like an authentic turn of events and I found myself giggling (not a good giggle) as I finished it. The writing in general however was not without merit.  I think the author is a good writer, but maybe not so strong at the story spinning aspect of writing a book.  With a better plot, I believe the author would put out a good book.  While it wasn't the worst book I've ever read, I also wasn't able to get into it  and therefore must assign it a rating of  4, Borrow from a Friend. But hey, just because the book didn't work for me doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, if it looks interesting to you, check it out!

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel.

If The Vespertine was a movie it would likely be rated PG for some violence disturbing imagery.

***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

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The Book Gatherer said...

Oh and it was sounding so good! What a shame. Well, I won't spend valuable time looking for this one but may just add it to the TBR pile should I stumble across it somewhere!

Nonners said...

Thank you, I like your review. I understand where you stand and I like the organization of it. I think I'll do some more research on it now :] Sounds interesting.

Lindsay said...

I think I'll still give this one a shot. The cover haunts me. I wish I could get it without the words and frame it for my dresser lol

We're new friends on BookBlogs, so I thought I'd stop by and say hello! =)

Kate the Book Buff said...

@Lindsay- it is a gorgeous cover isnt it?

C Brown said...

Sounds like they need a gorgeous cover, if the book is bad.


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