By Saundra Mitchell
Publication date: April 17, 2012
*Spoiler warning for those who haven't read The Vespertine*
Zora Stewart needs a change of scenery from Baltimore and all the sorrowful things it reminds her of. When her plans don't go the way she hopes, she purposely risks her reputation at a ball and is sent out west to help her Aunt Birdie in Oklahoma. It is there on the prairie that Zora begins to heal and believe in a future for herself. She also discovers that she is a Springsweet-she can call water forth from the ground. This discovery leads her aunt to hire her out as a springsweet to supplement their meager income. Birdie believes that this is a good chance for them but Zora knows from experience that gifts like hers come with a price. Zora also has to learn that in order to move forward she has to stop running from her past.
The Springsweet is a companion novel to The Vespertine but the story has a different feel to it partly due to the setting and partly due to the protagonist Zora. I think this is a much more thoughtful book and I actually prefer it to The Vespertine. Zora struggles with grief and guilt but she is also a determined and hardworking girl which I found admirable. Even though an Oklahoma soddy is a far cry from what she is used to, she pitches in and does her best to not be a burden to her aunt. The romance is sweet and although there are magical elements, the book reads more like historical fiction than paranormal romance or historical fantasy.
It did seem that Zora adjusted to her new life rather quickly and she has no problem accepting her unusual abilities but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. The Springsweet is not described as a sequel to The Vespertine but it is best to read it in order or there will be major spoilers for The Vespertine. For fans who miss Amelia in this book, she will be back in the third book. The Springsweet combines adventure, prairie romance, and a hint of the supernatural to provide an entertaining read. I am quickly becoming a fan of this series and would suggest it to those who enjoy YA historical romance.