I read an ARC of The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell on my Kobo. It was provided by the publisher via Net Galley.
This novel is set in 1889, and I think Mitchell did a fabulous job with this. We didn’t need the book to tell us what year it was to know it was this time period, because the setting was beautifully apparent.
One of my favourite parts of this book was the language. Old-fashioned language in a narrative really sends me back in time, or makes me feel like I’m in a dream. The diction is fabulous, it felt like reading poetry (I love poetry).
The frivolities that dominated female life in the time are a bit tedious to me, I don’t think I would have thrived in a time when so much diplomacy and formality was required of young ladies. I found things like being given a glove as a token of affection to be a bit ridiculous. This isn’t Mitchell’s fault, it’s just a factor of the time period. I hadn’t realized that dance cards were a literal thing. I’ve heard people say that “I’ll put you on my dance card” but I thought it was figurative. Never before this book did I realize it was a physical card tied to their wrist. It must have been uncomfortable.
I found Amelia’s powers fascinating. They are describes so hauntingly, that I felt like I was experiencing her premonitions with her. I loved the contrast between her modesty for real powers and the demanding entertainer with pretend powers entertaining.
Nathaniel is intriguing and mysterious. It makes me really angry that there was a time when dating someone outside your station was so impossible. I don’t understand how class ever became such a barrier.
It’s a slow-moving plot, that gets most interesting near the end of the novel. It dragged at times, and I had trouble getting into the story partly because of technical issues I mentioned in an earlier post, however I will be looking for more by the author because I enjoyed the language and ideas.