- My Review -This book was so thick with longing, so achingly decadent in every sense of the word. The writing was lush--written in first person, the novel simultaneously manages to carry a strong and relatable voice and an inescapable sense of the time and era it was written about. You truly believe you're hearing the voice of a seventeen year old girl from 1889. Amelia's naive delight at visiting her relative Zora for a summer season--the only one either of them is likely to have--is easy to get swept up in as a reader. Yet the novel is framed by a sense of tragedy (this isn't a spoiler, it's clear from the first chapter), and it infects and hovers behind all of the gaiety of the girls' dances and laughter and frivolity. The growth that Amelia goes through in the novel is heart-wrenching but unflinchingly honest. And then there is the love story. The unconsummated longing between Amelia and Nathaniel is so delicious. In a time where touching bare hands was considered wanton and dangerous, every intimate look and moment they steal alone has a heightened sense or eroticism (even though all of their contact by today's standard is chaste). But the Victorian setting and forbidden nature of their longing for one another, with added tension because of the supernatural elements of the book, makes for the most exciting love story I've read in a long time. Five stars, which I rarely give.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Vespertine - A Decadent Read
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell - Summary from Goodreads - 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.