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The Vespertine

(The Vespertine #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  3,199 ratings  ·  639 reviews
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 Nathani ...more
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published March 7th 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,199 ratings  ·  639 reviews

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Morgan F
This book should be the chiz, right? Gorgeous cover, intriguing premise, and interesting title. But no. No. Not at all.

I took me a couple months to read this book. DOS MESES. I had to force myself to read it, and I insisted on finishing it. This book was a test of my endurance, and I was not going to let it win.

This book was just a hunka hot mess. The prose was off and stilted. Mitchell tried to hard to sound like a Bronte or Jane Austen, but it just made the prose convoluted. I had NO IDEA wha
Dec 10, 2010 rated it liked it
God!! How to start this review!!!!!!!!!! First, I need to say that finishing this book was a real feat of strength and took every ounce of patience I had in reserve. This is me after I finished the novel:

Now that we established that let's start with the review: Amelia is a 16 year old girl who moves to Baltimore and to her cousin's house in the summer of 1889 in order to get acquainted with eligible young bachelors of similar status and find a husband. She and Zora, her cousin, quickly become be
Dec 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical, dnf, ya
Eh, nothing to write home about.

Two things work for this story: the gorgeous cover and the book's concept - a mix of supernatural and historical fiction. But the final product is just not very enticing. The prose attempts to be historically appropriate but comes off as labored and too flowery. As for the plot, I only have read two chapters and have no will to continue.

I am sure there will be readers satisfied with this novel, but I have read better. 30 pages is enough page-time to recognize th
If The Vespertine had begun with the same awesomeness with which it concluded, it would have been a five-star read! Unfortunately, about eighty percent of the book was devoted to the sort of utterly terrible writing that made me want to pull my hair out. The plot inched along, hidden somewhere in the midst of fashion, parties and giggling girls.

Amelia van der Broek has been sent to Baltimore by her brother to contract a suitable marriage. She is invited to stay at her cousin's house, where she
"No. First, tell me you love me, as you have no one else."
The wind roared around us, like a great storm come off the waves. Nathaniel tightened his arms around me and said "Jump with me."
And I did.

Set in 1889 Victorian era, sixteen year old Amelia van den Broek is sent to Baltimore to stay her cousin Zora, in hopes to find a proper husband .
While I'm sure her brother wouldn't approve of an artist as a well suitor, never the less, Amelia as her eyes on the dashing Nathaniel Witherspoon. Only he
Sarah Mac
This was an odd book. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.

Girl is shipped to the Big City to live with Distant Cousin & find a suitable husband. Girl & Distant Cousin become BFFs. Girl falls into Insta-Lust with an unsuitable Artist Guy. Girl suddenly discovers she has a talent for catching flashes of future events when she stares at the sunset. Distant Cousin convinces Girl to reveal her gift to Distant Cousin's other BFFs. Antics ensue, some of which are wacky & some of which are de
Kelly Herself
Jan 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Synopsis: It’s the spring and summer of 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland. Amelia van den Broek has come from Maine to stay with her more fashionable cousins, the Stewarts, in the hopes of learning a bit of culture and the skills to land herself a suitable marriage match. Amelia is thrilled to be in the big city with her cousin. She has led such a sheltered life in Maine, being raised by her older brother August, that the freedom of the city and the glitter of the fashionable parties and people overwh ...more
Katieb (MundieMoms)
A beautiful, rich, Victorian era story that is both haunting and romantic. The Vespertine reads like a classic and has a voice that stays with you long after you read it.

Set in the 1800's in both Baltimore & Maine, The Vespertine quickly made me feel like I was apart of this world. With Saundra's rich, vivid writing I was able to see the world through adventurous Amelia's eyes. Amelia is a character I really enjoyed getting to know. Upon arriving in Baltimore for the purpose of finding a husband
The Vespertine is a haunting blend of romance, mystery, and the supernatural. Saundra Mitchell's writing is rich, and her imagery swept me away to another time. Her Victorian setting creates the perfect mood, and her descriptions touched all of my senses--it was like I could smell the scent of the apple, feel the touch of the silk, hear the music from the ball. Gorgeous writing, a lush atmosphere, and a forbidden romance combine into a heart-aching, intriguing novel.

I adore how a Victorian setti
Aug 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I really did give this book a try.

The concept of this book is great and the new cover is beautiful (compared to the first ARC cover) but the biggest fault that lies with this story is the writing. It seems the author was trying to invoke the elegant and grandiose style of the time period, but instead it comes off as forced, difficult, and almost like she was trying too hard.

For a large part of the book I was very confused and it then in effect distanced me from the characters who I couldn't con
Sarah MacLean
Dark and luxurious with rich, compelling characters and a perfect blend of the mysterious and the fantastic, Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine is Victorian gothic at its finest--at once evoking the lyricism of Bronte, the heart-pounding of Poe and a vivid, enticing voice that is entirely her own. ...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
A beautiful, rich, Victorian era story that is both haunting and romantic. The Vespertine reads like a classic and has a voice that stays with you long after you read it.

Set in the 1800's in both Baltimore & Maine, The Vespertine quickly made me feel like I was apart of this world. With Saundra's rich, vivid writing I was able to see the world through adventurous Amelia's eyes. Amelia is a character I really enjoyed getting to know. Upon arriving in Baltimore for the purpose of finding a husband
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Starting off with the positives, I thoroughly enjoyed the prose. It was enjoyable to read and didn’t feel overdone or pretentious. With such period settings, especially when written in 1st person, it’s all too easy to get carried away or let your guard slip but Mitchell does a good job with the prose; it was the thing that kept me reading the book through most of it. For the most part I also enjoyed Amelia, the protagonist. She’s practical and fully aware of the societal expectations weighing do ...more
Sophie Riggsby / allthingsequilateral
Review/Giveaway published on 4/7/2012 on Page Turners Blog. Giveaway ends on 4/17/12

A rustle of silk. An empty dance card. And the wait, that agonizing wait spent wondering if the Boy-Who-is-Absolutely-Wrong-for-You will show up at the dance. We’ve all had that moment, haven’t we?

Saundra Mitchell pens a story of forbidden love, one in which the couple is not only separated by the rigid rules of society but also by their own secrets, which are kept hidden.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
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📗 When I first started reading The Vespertine, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Gothic writing and vivid descriptions of the scenes drew me in and made me want to read more. I was confused about the beginning of the book, but I went back and re-read it later and understood it better.

📕 My favourite character in the novel is Zora, she’s very smart and daring and I felt that Amelia needed a streetwise companion. One descript
Erica (storybookend)
The Vespertine read like a late 1800’s dream dance, whispering on the wind, and spinning gracefully in the alluringness of a fire’s flames. It was beautifully written with the perfect feel for the Victorian age. The plot was intriguing, and the romance very nice. Finding out Nathaniel’s secret just firmly secured the intimacy and connection that he and Amelia shared. The haunting premonitions of Amelia’s sightseeing, while sometimes just instances of inconsequence for some people, revealed great ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I don't really have much to say about "The Vespertine". It was not outstanding, but it was not terrible, it fell somewhere in an average middle.

For positives, I would point to:
- the quick story: the author had a small idea and didn't drag it out, which I appreciate.
- the interesting "dark side" of supernatural abilities: a lot of the time in supernatural books you see people just enjoying their powers, but the truth is that they could also get you in trouble especially in times when being label
Dec 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I picked this book up at NetGalley, not thinking too much of it. When I began reading, I fell in love. First of all, I love historical settings. I love the refinement of the period. The way people spoke then just makes for better writing, as far as I'm concerned. Mitchell also leans toward the lyrical side in her writing style, which is fitting for this novel.

I was enamored with Amelia and Nathaniel. Their relationship is an interesting one from the start, and I loved watching it develop from pl
Samantha- The Paperback Collector
Wow. I really enjoyed Saundra Mitchell's Shadowed Summer but The Vespertine exceeded all of my expectations. It's been a while since I've read a historical novel--I've been a bit overwhelmed by paranormals--but I am so glad I picked this one up. I honestly felt like I was in 1889 with Amelia and the rest of the cast of characters. There was a perfect mix of historical and paranormal, and oh, the twists! There are so many, I can't even describe how often I was holding my breath. The romance and ...more
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My first thoughts upon completion: “Wow, what a story. Very emotional, and very interesting.”

The Vespertine dives right on in, starting at a point where you HAVE to wonder what is going on – and what transpired before this point. How did we get here? How did Amelia end up where we first see her? Why is she ruined? Don’t worry, all of these questions are answered. This story is very interesting, very intriguing, and very touching. I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to give anythin
Lisa Bergren
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I had a hard time getting into this book and almost set it aside. I haven’t read historical fiction—that felt like it was written in the nineteenth century—since college. And therefore, it was a bit of a challenge to get into the cadence, settle into the rhythm of these character’s lives and the way they see things. But once you do…oh, once you do! Captivating, enthralling, deliciousness. So if you’re struggling up front, hang in there. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

The author’s gif
First impressions: The opening chapter takes place in the fall of 1889, which we soon find out is after the events that span the rest of the book. On first read it is captivating enough, with Amelia being imprisoned in her brother's attic, revealed to us as our "ruined" heroine. The brilliance of this first chapter is that as I progressed through the story, I could turn back and read it again, gathering more insights into the action. Just like the prologue to Romeo and Juliet, this opening chapt ...more
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: egalley
Full review, play list, author interview and swag giveaway at

The Vespertine was a full sensory experience for me. I wanted to savor every page and soak in every detail. The first pull came from the fact that the majority of the novel is set in Baltimore, Maryland close to my childhood home. Main character Amelia van Broek describes places I know by heart and the sunsets she describes are ones I've seen. What most struck me about this book is that I truly felt
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

ACTUAL RATING: 2.5 stars

This wasn't a bad book, but it just didn't click with me and ultimately, it's forgettable.

Amelia is staying in Baltimore with family for the spring. She's supposed to be finding marriage opportunities and courting, as well as be in society. But a discovery of a new talent changes things. Amelia has the ability to tell the future and soon others flock to hear their future told, but things get worse whe
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-galley
Fair warning: if you’re anything like me, and are just not into historicals, the first half will likely make you want to quit it. Past a certain point (if you’re still reading) things do pick up and get interesting.

I’ll start with what I didn’t like. It was very difficult (for me) to get into it. Have you ever felt that you might not like something because it would be too deep, too historically correct, or that the language would be too accurate (given the temporal setting) for a novel to be gr
Oct 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Vespertine isn't the average paranormal romance in the young adult section . It's extraordinary , Sandra mitchel brings a refreshing type of paranormal to the table . Introducing the character and the world of vespertine used breathtaking poetic prose to tell the story of a stubborn yet strong willed girl and transports readers into rich historical setting in irresitable victorian era baltimore 1800 a unforgettable story of forbidden romances, corsets , sophiciticated balls ,fortune telling and ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
The Vespertine is set in 1889 Baltimore, where our protagonist, Amelia, is sent by her brother, August, to find a suitable husband. There, she stays with the Stewards and quickly finds herself friends with Zora Steward.

There, she also develops her inexplicable power to foresee the future. Word of her skill spreads, and soon she's sought after to tell fortunes. But when one of her darkest premonitions comes to pass, people have to wonder, does Amelia see these events, or cause them?

There are als
5 Stars
From the first line the lyrical prose flow beautifully. The dark poetic-style of each description sings along like a haunting carnival tune. The metaphors are juxtaposed and grounded in concrete images giving it just enough of a dreamy feel without leaving the reader floating in absurdity. I fell fast for this read and found myself enraptured with the story late into the night. I did not want to return from historical Baltimore anymore than I ever want to leave Victorian England. This is
Tara Chevrestt
In 1889 Maine, finding a "respectable" husband is difficult so Amelia's brother and guardian sends her to cousins in Baltimore to find a suitable mate. I'm sure her brother does not consider a starving artist and "fourteenth" at the dinner table a suitable mate, but that is what Amelia goes for.

However, in Baltimore, Amelia begins to have visions and see tidbits of the future when she stares into the sunset. Thus while her and her cousin/friend Zora go to dances and prance around with girlfrien
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was an entertaining read with a mixture of supernatural and forbidden Historical Romance - what's not to like?

The Vespertine is about a 16 year old girl named Amelia van den Broek who has been sent to stay with relatives in Baltimore. She is there to find a husband but eagerly indulges in what the city has to offer. But Amelia soon discovers she has a supernatural gift - she can glimpse pieces of the future at sunset. A mysterious young artist named Nathaniel with secrets of his own also en
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 25, 2015 06:54AM  
LGBT? 2 14 Mar 11, 2014 08:39AM  
~!The Young Adult...: The Vespertine 1 6 Mar 31, 2012 05:31AM  
The Springsweet (sequel) 2 22 Sep 15, 2011 07:04PM  

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Saundra Mitchell is the author of SHADOWED SUMMER, THE VESPERTINE, THE SPRINGSWEET, THE ELEMENTALS and MISTWALKER. In non-fiction, she’s the author of the THEY DID WHAT!? series for middle grade readers. She’s also the editor of the YA anthology DEFY THE DARK. IN 2018, HarlequinTEEN will publish her next anthology, ALL OUT.

Writing as Jessa Holbrook, she published her first romantic contemporary YA

Other books in the series

The Vespertine (3 books)
  • The Springsweet (The Vespertine, #2)
  • The Elementals (The Vespertine, #3)

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“The stars could have burned out around us, the moon could have fallen from the sky, and I wouldn't have known it. Not when he leaned indecently close and pressed his cheek against mine to murmur, "Tell me a secret."
I wanted him to tell me how he stopped time like that. How he read my mind. I wanted to admit I wondered if thoughts of me troubled him when he lay awake at night. But I could make none of that come to my lips....
Instead... I whispered back, "I've seen the future."
He didn't laugh. He didn't mock, not like he had done at Privalovna's performance. In the middle of our waltz, he stopped, nose to nose with me. He uncovered me with a look that somehow bared him, too.
And his question told me everything - that he stopped time because he needed me, that he read my mind because we were one. That I troubled his nights, indeed, because what he asked revealed it all.
"Am I with you there?”
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