I read The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell back in December. Since today is the release date for it, I thought I'd post my review again.
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley
In the summer of 1889, Amelia van den Broeke was sent to Baltimore to stay with relatives. Her brother facilitated this stay in hopes that Amelia would find a husband. Amelia makes friends, thanks to her welcoming cousin, and finds herself head over heels crazy for a Fourteenth, Nathaniel Witherspoon. Unfortunately, he is below her, making a marriage impossible.
While searching for a husband, Amelia discovers she has a gift. When the sun sets, she sees the future in the vespers. Initially hesitant about revealing this gift, Amelia soon finds herself doing readings for callers.
The summer had been enjoyable, that is until one of Amelia's more tragic predictions came true. Amelia then found herself being blamed and facing a much different end to ther summer than expected.
My Thoughts: I found this book to be a refreshing twist to the paranormal YA books I've read. It's not your typical vampire or werewolf story like many paranormal stories are nowadays. Don't get me wrong! I love vampire and werewolf stories, but I also like to mix it up a bit. I've never heard of anyone seeing the future in the vespers at sunset. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard the words "vespertine" or "vesper." (Clearly, I need to expand my vocabulary.)
One of my favorite things about the story was how Amelia's gift was handled. I'm so used to reading books about paranormal gifts that must be kept secret. If the public knew, that person would be shunned, experimented on, or maybe even worse. Amelia, though, was embraced in a way. The people in Baltimore were eager to meet with her and find out what the vespers held for them. It wasn't until something bad happened that everyone had a much different outlook on Amelia's gift.
Aside from the paranormal aspect of the story, I found it to be a great coming of age story. That summer was a turning point. It was the transition between childhood and womanhood, and Amelia was faced with the huge task of finding a husband. She fell in love, and of course it was a difficult love.
I really liked The Vespertine. I felt it blended historical fiction and paranormal gifts quite nicely.