Saturday, March 5, 2011

Visions at Sundown

The Vespertine

Written by: Saundra Mitchell

Released: March 7, 2011 by Harcourt Children’s Books

Summary: 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.

I requested this novel on netGalley on a whim because the summary was intriguing even though the cover that was shown was a little weird. The end cover, however, is gorgeous as you can see for yourself. Anyways, while I went into reading this not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised with the end result.

I’ll admit that I thought that this would be a bit fluffy to read but I loved how lyrical the wording in this novel was and that made all the difference to the romance. The writing in this novel took the historical/paranormal to a whole other level and made it something entirely new and exciting. Being able to envision the scenes as a reader can with this book made it possible to believe Amelia’s ability to see things in the fading sunset. It also brought to life the stolen moments between her and Nathaniel, which had me melting in my seat while reading them.

Amelia as a character seemed a little... weak, for lack of better wording. Oh, she was written beautifully, but her personality just wasn’t fully there. She was timid in my eyes and gave up entirely too easily at times. But since this is a historical novel, there are limitations for a female character with no means of her own, like Amelia.

I loved how the supernatural was blended with this book and how it explored the fraudulent side of psychics which were popular in that time period. By having that aspect in the novel, it makes the real premonitions that Amelia has seem more real in comparison but easily written off since it’s so easy to fake that sort of thing. There are some other little things that happen of a supernatural persuasion but I don’t want to ruin anything, so you’ll have to read this novel for yourself to find out. Still, the way that they blended the two genres really made it seem as though it could have completely happened just like that.

There were times in this novel, especially near the end, where I was close to tears (happy or sad, I’m not specifying) and I think that the only reason I didn’t cry was because I skipped ahead and read the last ten pages or so once I was half-way through the novel. This, I highly recommend you don’t do since it takes away some of the build-up to emotion.

I enjoyed reading this and read almost all of it in one sitting; I don’t think that it will be one that I talk about much after writing this review. It was a good book, it just wasn’t great. I’m giving it a 6/10.

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