Monday, February 7, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Amelia isn't sure what to expect when she is shipped off to stay with her Aunt and cousin Zora in Baltimore. Upon arrival, her life turns into one exciting adventure after another. Zora is extremely social and daring, introducing Amelia to girl friends and boys alike. But Amelia is hiding a secret, and when Zora finds out what she can do, life as Amelia knows it changes fast and furiously. The two girls make the best use of Amelia's talents as they can, creating quite a name for themselves. Then someone gets hurt and it becomes difficult to know who to trust. Plus Zora meets a mysterious boy who may or may not have powers of his own.

This is a tender and tragic little read. The atmosphere is filled with historically accurate references of the times (Zora and Amelia go to get calling cards printed, for example) that are delightful to experience. The writing was surprisingly sensual, breaking away from the prudish, stuffy air of proper society. Amelia's interest in Nathaniel Witherspoon is innocent and arousing. Zora's bright outlook on life and willingness to be her own gal is downright contagious. Saundra Mitchell expertly captures the language and rules of the time period. The plot takes it's time getting going, but once it does, the reader is thrown into happiness and dances and the mystique. Then, when things take a turn for the worse, I couldn't help but feel bad for poor Amelia. However slow, silly, or sad the story may be however, the ending is so completely worth it.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

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