Book Review & Promising Bloom

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell. March 2011.

Amelia van den Broek’s brother sends her to stay with her cousin in Baltimore with one goal in mind: To find a suitable man and marry him. It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia and her cousin Zora delight in all the entertainment the city has to offer them. Almost immediately, Amelia meets Nathaniel, an artist, and feels an instant connection. But Nathaniel is not the type of man her brother had in mind for a suitable husband. On top of that, Amelia begins to see visions in the sunset. Visions that turn out to be the future. But as more people clamor to have their futures told, others start to blame her when the visions turn dark.

When this book came across my desk, I was intrigued because I had read good reviews about it, and what’s not to like about a girl who discovers she can see the future during her coming-out season?  I took it home that night, and couldn’t stop reading until I finished, and I couldn’t wait to get back to work the next day because I also had the ARC of Springsweet on my desk. Mitchell creates a beautiful world with her words. Her descriptive language transported me back to 1889 Baltimore to all the delights of balls, entertainers, and proper courtship (or ignoring proper courtship in Amelia’s case). The first line is an immediate hook, “I woke in Oakhaven, entirely ruined.” The story then goes back and forth between a ruined Amelia locked in her brother’s house, and the events of Amelia living in Baltimore. This creates wonderful tension throughout the story as the reader ponders just how exactly Amelia gets “ruined.” Finally, Mitchell creates an engaging and captivating romance while keeping it completely appropriate for my young women at church.  Nathaniel definitely goes on my list of top male protagonists in YA fiction.  He’s dark and mysterious but also charming and good.  And even though it was a forbidden romance, this book had a different feel to it that set it apart from all the other forbidden romances out there.

All in all, a captivating read!

Promising Bloom: Springsweet

Release Date: April 17th, 2012

Zora was a favorite character of mine, and so I was delighted to find that the sequel centered around her. After the unfortunate events of The Vespertine, Zora seeks to escape, so her mother sends her to stay with her aunt in the Oklahoma Territory, in the stark little town of West Glory. I don’t want to give too much away, but just know it’s as equally good if not better than The Vespertine. Zora is a feisty heroine, and her love interest is every bit as wonderful as Nathaniel. Although Springsweet is considered a companion novel, I would strong urge readers to read The Vespertine first; otherwise certain shocking events won’t be quite as shocking anymore!

Stay tuned for an interview with Saundra coming tomorrow!

Lindsey L.