Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

The Vespertine

The Vespertine - Saundra Mitchell Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. I recieved my copy free through the Goodreads Firstreads giveaway/program.Thrown into 1889 Baltimore for the summer, Amelia van den Broek's given purpose is to find a husband to marry and learn how to be a proper wife and young lady. While staying with her relatives, the Stewart family and their teenage daughter Zora, Amelia is fascinated by all Baltimore has to offer, including an artist named Nathaniel who seems interested in her too. When the sun starts to set, strange visions strike Amelia and eventually, some of them come true. Amelia and Zora's friends, all interested in the realm of the unknown, clamor to have Amelia over so she can have a vision of their future. But these visions may not bode well for Amelia in the end. She doesn't always see happiness in the future and when her bad visions come true, the blame may fall on her.I loved the prose in this book. Fresh and flowery as a piece of writing might have been in the 1880s, the narrative voice Amelia provides matched her time and entertained me. Some of the turns of phrase are absolutely lovely. I wish I could name one off the top of my head, but I'm pulling a blank right now. Modern language gets a little boring sometimes, especially with narrators who aren't the least bit interesting. Having an itneresting heroine like Amelia with such beautiful language in her head was a good change from my usual reads. The other characters, left with little development, don't hold a candle to Amelia, the free-thinking girl who still worries about her reputation as any girl of her age would. Realistic heroines? Finally!If you ask me, Amelia isn't in love with Nathaniel. It's a mere infatuation. Think about it: Amelia comes from the small town of Broken Tooth, Maine and she was probably somewhat sheltered or restricted. She's sent to the big city of Baltimore, a place very different from her small town, to find a husband. She's out from under her brother's watchful eye and hanging with her fun-loving cousin Zora. Then Amelia meets Nathaniel, a city man who is "free" from society's strict demands and traditions. Compared to the men in Zora's circle that follow society's rules, this man is more interesting and unlike anyone she's ever met. She is a small town girl infatuated with the mystery and idea of"freedom" from society that Nathaniel represents. Crush? Yes. Infatuation? Yes again. Love? Heavens no.In addition, that "vision coming true" thing mentioned in the blurb? That doesn't happen until about page 250 of 293. Before then, where was the conflict? I suppose it could be Amelia's decision whether to be a good rule-following girl or a girl who thinks for herself and does as she pleases, but that conflict couldn't keep me reading. What other conflict was there to keep me reading, then? Nathaniel and Amelia's forbidden romance? That didn't cut it, either. Conflicts are beautiful. A good one makes a great book. This book had no conflict until the very end. Until then, the book crawls by as the adventures of Amelia and Zora are detailed. To be frank, I was reminded of Gossip Girl in how it's less about the plot and more about this person's misadventures and love life. There is a good reason I only read one Gossip Girl book.Once the big thing happens, the plot jumps out from behind the curtain, does a random dance for the audience, then takes a bow with all the other players. Then it's over, just like that. The climax and the action both happen so quickly that the events at the end of the novel--two characters die, for Pete's sake!--have little time to sink and and take effect on the reader. It's no use killing people if the reaction it's supposed to get out of readers doesn't have time to happen. If given some more page time and had the plot been more present throughout the novel, this would have been a good ending. A little explanation on what triggered Amelia's powers, where her and Nathaniel's powers came from, and why Amelia didn't have visions until she got to Maryland also would have been nice.It didn't live up to all of my expectations, but The Vespertine wasn't horrible. It could have been much worse (though never Angel Star bad), but it also could have been much better. I've heard about another book the author wrote called Shadowed Summer and I'll seek that out sometime soon. There will also be a companion to The Vespertine called The Springsweet, which will come out next year. I'll probably buy it. Give The Vespertine a try if you think you'll like it, but be wary if any of the issues I talked about above bother you too.