The Springsweet Hardcover – Apr 17 2012
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—Aprilynne Pike, New York Times Bestselling Author of Wings and Spells "Sheer pleasure from beginning to end."—TeenReads.com "I savored every word of The Vespertine; I knew it was an amazing book from the first page and I was entranced until the very last."—Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series Praise for The Elementals: "In The Elementals the worlds of The Vespertine and The Springsweet collide with glass-brittle hopes and devastating consequences. The children of the supernatural must learn what their parents have long known, that even the most innocent magic demands a cost. A sumptuous read, as bittersweet as it is beautiful."—Aprilynne Pike, New York Times bestselling author of Wings and Spells "Saundra Mitchell pulls off a thrilling conclusion to a mesmerizing series! She just gets better and better!"—Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series "Mitchell convincingly portrays the glittering, raucous L.A. of the burgeoning movie industry and the oppressive unease of looming war."—Booklist
About the Author
Saundra Mitchell is a screenwriter and author. Her companion novels The Vespertine, The Springsweet, and The Elementals have been praised for their rich historical settings, evocative language, and heart-pounding romance. Her debut novel, Shadowed Summer, was a 2010 Edgar Award Nominee, a Junior Library Guild selection, and an ALAN Pick. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and her two children. Visit her website at www.saundramitchell.com.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Zora Stewart was an interesting character. She was so certain her life was over that she has no idea how young she truly is until she was given another chance at love and life. I wish I could say that her special ability made her more interesting, but she used her abilities a handful of times in the book, mostly towards the end, so it really was not as integral a part of the plot as I had assumed based on the book's description. Towards the end of the story, Zora and her aunt decide to advertise her ability and to charge a fee for it so that they can try and save enough money to buy some livestock and improve their own lives. These scenes were some of the most touching in the book for me. One family is given the gift of life when Zora finds a spring of sweet, clear water on their dying property; another wants to drain his neighbor's pond and use their water as his own; the last is given the bitter news that there is no water on his claim and that he has sunk all of his money into a barren wasteland. Even though Zora's talent was not the focal point of the book, it did dictate some of her decisions and made her a less-than-typical society miss of the time period.
As with most young adult books, the author of The Springsweet falls into the trap of creating a love triangle where there really isn't one to try and give the story more depth. Zora must choose between a handsome, young gentleman who follows her from Boston and a local settler who is reviled by Zora's aunt and others. Hmmm, let me think. Who will she choose? The tall, dark, handsome, charming and well educated Theo or the brash, confident, golden Emerson. Zora's choice is so obvious that it is fairly laughable that the author event presents the other as an option, but whatever, I guess it is normal to have two amazing men chasing after the heroine in books these days. That said, I did enjoy the sweet little romance between Zora and her Romeo. I wish that there could be another book to tell us more about their lives and how they get on as they are just barely getting started when the book ends rather abruptly. It will be interesting to see where the author goes with her series from here...
The Springsweet has some gothic overtones, but they are subtle and this is not what I would deem a gothic romance. Theo and Zora meet in a graveyard with none other than Edgar Allen Poe. The lovelorn, grieving young woman and supernatural aspects also would lead you to think this is a more traditional, gothic romance, but the setting itself does not lend to a traditional gothic romance. You do not have the strictures of society or the brooding villain to make this a true gothic romance, but it was an interesting little romance with gothic touches. It was not at all what I was expecting when I picked it up, but I enjoyed reading it and will definitely check out other books by this author. I loved her writing style and think that she could make just about any topic appear interesting and important.
Zora is a brilliant character. She is selfish and everything about her character felt right. I really felt like I knew her, and her actions/reactions weren't shocking, but stayed true to her character. She isn't the only brilliant character either, I really enjoyed Emerson and some of the other secondary characters as well.
Though The Springsweet is rather predictable, I found myself engrossed enough in the story to want to continue on. This book very much felt like filler- I am crossing my fingers for more action and conflict in the next installment.
I definitely recommend this book to those that read the first one, The Vespertine. It is very similar.
I loved this book. While it was a sequel to The Vespertine it felt more like a companion novel which has a character from the original but does not continue the original story. The historical setting was written well allowing the reader to feel like they are in the frontier setting. The book is short and the plot engrossing leaving me with a story that I could not not put down. Both this book and The Vespertine reminded me of the historical romance novels that I loved and adored as a teen (but without all the sex.)
Appropriateness: This is a wonderful historical romance that teens will love. There is no alcohol or drugs. There are a few sections where it could be implied that more happened than just kissing but it is left to the imagination. I would recommend this book to readers 13+
Zora is a great character. Her grief is tangible and drives her to do selfish things because she can't see beyond it. That rang true to me. Desperation also drove her to find her inner strengths, which also rang true. And the guilt she felt from her attraction to Emerson was fantastic. I really liked Emerson, too. all his actions made sense according to his personality, and I had a good feel for who he is.
The shape of the story wasn't as effective as I was hoping. It was pretty even throughout, and I kept looking for more surprises. The foreshadowing of complications from the wells was natural and needed, but I was hoping for something on top of that--completely different, yet related. This story kind of seems a vessel to find the earth and water elements, and then the next book will have the actual conflict. Which is a bummer because I thought there were a few missed opportunities for conflict. For example, I wasn't sure of the point of the stage robbing, especially since we don't see Ellis again and the conflict with Royal doesn't really amount to anything. I am hoping it's not setup for the next book.
The ending, however, is superb. I loved how it ties the two books together while setting up for the third, which I will most definitely be reading.
First let me talk about what I liked about this book. I liked that Mitchell seems to have done her research about what life in the wilds of Oklahoma would be like during this time period, complete with sod houses and all. It's a touch of realism that serves the story well. I have to say that my favorite character in all of this had to have been Birdy. She's a tough, no-nonsense woman and at times I couldn't help but wish that the story had been centered around her more than Zora. Zora isn't an unlikable character, but she just seemed a little underdeveloped at times.
Now for what I felt was a bit lacking. I can't help but feel that the story and characters should have been a little more fleshed out. Everything happens so quickly that I didn't think that many of the romantic developments felt like they unfolded as naturally as they should have and I think that if there'd been more fleshing out of the characters, the story's fast pace wouldn't have been as bad otherwise. I liked Zora for the most part, but I just couldn't entirely buy her chemistry with a certain male character. There was definitely enough there to make it interesting, but not enough to give the whiz-bang feeling that I crave from romance in my stories. I would be more ambivalent about this, but since this is the second book in the series I couldn't help but want more from a second entry.
Overall though, this is still a nice book and fans of the first entry will be sure to enjoy it. If you haven't read the first book then you absolutely should, but it's not a necessity since most of Springsweet can be understood without it.
3.4 out of 5 stars