Monday, March 7, 2011

Books I Broke Up With: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

I wanted to love The Vespertine because I love the cover. Look at this:

Isn't it gorgeous?! I love the richness of the colors -- the brown tones provide depth. At the same time, it is an action shot -- but an elegant looking one.


Anyway, here is the official 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."

There were two main reasons I had to break up with The Vespertine. First, I couldn't identify or sympathize with Amelia. I understand that I personally cannot identify with all the protagonists I read. That would mean they are all like me, or similar to me, and where's the variety in that?! Even so, it is usually easy enough to identify with the main character at least on some level. And if that's not the case, I can still feel for him or her, as s/he leads us through his or her story. I never found that with Amelia. As the story is moving along we are discovering Zora and Nathaniel and other characters....but not Amelia.

Secondly, I've said this before and I'll say it again -- if I am reading a love story, I have to buy the romance between the man and woman. And I just couldn't with Nathaniel and Amelia. It felt very forced to me. Love at First Sight is (I believe) very real -- and also very hard to portray convincingly.

I also thought that the history aspect would give this book a unique spin on things, but it just further confused and complicated the story.

Thoughts on the story? On the gorgeous cover?

This Advance Reader's E-Proof was provided to me by HarperCollins and netGalley.


  1. Hi, I’m a new follower from Edge of Escape and I just loved this review. It's hard to be honest sometimes. I like that you "break up" with a book - nicely put. Please stop by, I’d love to have your book-savvy opinion of my site.

  2. Thanks Debbie! I really appreciate the comment :) We did stop by and follow your blog!