I am delighted to share my review today for a gorgeous story, Midnight In Everwwod by M.A Kuzniar. Also, I would like to wish the author a very Happy Publication Day for such a wonderful book.
I virtually attended an online event and saw an interview with this author. I immediately knew that this was a book I wanted to read and so immediately popped it on my wishlist. The amazing folks at HQ Stories sent me a surprise copy through the post!
A spell-binding retelling of The Nutcracker, filled with enchanted toys, decadent balls, fierce feminine friendships and a forbidden romance. For fans of The Toymakers, Caraval and The Bear and the Nightingale.
There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.
When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.
But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.
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This is a retelling of the Nutcracker story, I am always a little dubious when it comes to retellings. The story of the Nutcracker always reminds me of Christmas, especially Christmas Eve, it is a fantasy, magical fairy tale that I adore. So, did Midnight in Everwood live up to my expectations? It most definitely did!
Straight from the outset, this book felt right, Marietta is a young girl who lives a life of privilege. Her parents have allowed her to attend ballet classes, but it has been known that this will not be something that they will support her in. She is, after all, a young woman with responsibilities, who needs to marry into the right position that will allow her parents to live in the upper echelons of society.
There is a newcomer to the neighbourhood, a mysterious and enigmatic man, an inventor of toys and mechanical creations of wonder. Mr Drosselmeier is enchanted by Marietta and he wants her to become his wife. Through one of his creations, she is transported into another world, where she is trapped.
I absolutely adored everything about this story, it has a gorgeous magical feel to it with wonderful descriptions that gradually built a vivid image in my mind as I read the story. Everwood is all glittery, sugary sweet with magic. All this glamour and glitz is a front, there are whispers, rumours and hints that all is not as it should be within this wonderland. The King is tyrannical, overbearing and greedy.
The story of the Nutcracker is one I love, there are hints of the original story and I could see the inspiration in this version. If you have not read the Nutcracker, well, it really doesn’t matter as this is a retelling of the story.
The author uses Marietta so well in this version, a strong upright young woman who has dreams of a future. She does not want to be wed to someone who will dictate to her or see her as a possession. She does not want to become a pawn for her parents to rise up through the ranks of society.
This is a wonderfully magical story. It is an adult fairy tale, a fantasy and I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be, and dare I say a bit more as well. I would very definitely recommend this one.
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