Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review: The Springsweet, by Saundra Mitchell

I loved The Springsweet. But that didn't surprise me because I loved The Verspertine too. Mitchell is a beautiful writer; I loved the "wild west" setting. And, the romance is subtle and believable.

Continuing with some of the characters from The Vespertine, the story starts with Zora in mourning for Thomas for too long. Her mother encourages her to get back into society by inviting some of her friends to visit. Zora has decided she needs to go away -- far away -- to someplace where she can be helpful to others. At the Sugarcane Ball, she declares that she has been "ruined" by Theo de la Croix. Her mother sends her to the Oklahoma Territory to help out her Aunt Birdie, who has lost her husband and has a small child.

During the journey, Zora's coach gets robbed, and she is rescued by Emerson Birch, who takes her to her aunt's home, which is a "soddy" - a home made of dirt. And for some reason Birdie is not at all grateful to Emerson. In fact, she chases him off with a shotgun.

Zora settles in rather easily, I thought, to life in this poor, desolate place. She doesn't complain about the work or the lack of food, and works very hard to help her aunt. When Theo appears, things get complicated, because he is not making it a secret that he's here to court Zora. And, Zora can't seem to get Emerson out of her head.

The magical aspect of the story is very subtle, and well done. Zora discovers that she can see water under the earth, and therefore, can determine where the best place for a well would be. When Birdie hears of this gift, she sees dollar signs, and makes plans to publicize this service.

Things go wrong; things go right. There's tragedy and happiness. I loved the historical setting, and felt like I was inhaling the dust right along with Zora. I didn't really consider the romance aspect a "love triangle," since Zora was pretty sure what she wanted; she just had trouble determining how to get it.

The strength of The Springsweet is the writing. I don't know how to describe it, other than "smooth." The descriptions are beautiful and creative, but not stilted. You will just have to try it out to see what I mean.

The Springsweet is really a historical romance. Yes, there's a paranormal aspect, but it's subtle. It's beautifully written, and I would recommend The Springsweet widely to my teen girls. The end leaves an opening for another book involving these characters, as well as a return of some from The Vespertine, and I'm looking forward to it!

Published by Harcourt, April 17, 2012
Copy obtained from Around the World Tours
275 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. Ohh I loved the Vespertine too! The Springsweet is one of my most anticipated reads this year, I'm glad you liked it (:

  2. Nice! I think I'm going to like this book even more than The Vespertine. Zora was my favorite character.


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