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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Vespertine - a Book Birthday Review

I had the pleasure of reading a galley of The Vespertine courtesy of the publisher and  (My review was in no way influenced by the free copy I received, however.)  In much the same vein of Prophecy of the Sisters, The Vespertine takes a unique paranormal idea and grounds firmly in historical fiction.  The result is a beautiful blend of traditions and intrigue.
I'm exceptionally excited to be posting this review today, since it's also The Vespertine's BOOK BIRTHDAY!  If you're in the mood for a celebration this Monday, you might consider indulging yourself with delightful read.

Here's the 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.

And here's what I thought:

Amelia, and her cousin Zora, are wonderful characters.  I love their personalities and their weaknesses.  I love their love interests as well, but Nathaniel is clearly the more intriguing of the two.  While Zora is busy pursuing the doctor's son, Amelia finds herself smitten by a poor artist, who'd never be consider respectable enough to wed.  But love doesn't always follow the rules, and Amelia and Nathaniel are drawn to each other like magnets.  The only down side in their love is "the times," such that you don't see the typical flaming desire we've come to expect from a traditional paranormal romance.  This romance is more about the slow boil, leaving the reader wanting more encounters between the two and more than just a handful of stolen kisses.

The paranormal aspect of this story was fresh.  Amelia's sunset visions gradually come faster and faster.  While the adults indulge her "parlor tricks," all the girls know the truth -- Amelia's visions WILL come true.  But can any good come of seeing the future with such terrible clarity?  You'll just have to read and find out.

There are plenty of plot twists that you'll never see coming.  While I do normally enjoy the adventure and danger of more typical paranormal romance, this book was a welcome diversion.  I thoroughly enjoyed being caught up in another time and hope you will as well.

Bottom Line: This book deserves a 4.5 Greek coins rating -- an OMG!+  You'll have to let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did.