Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered. At the wishes of her family, she will be obligated to marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But when a mysterious new toymaker, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in her life. Although Drosselmeier’s magic is darker than Marietta could have imagined…
When he constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance, Marietta discovers it carries a magic all of its own. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself walking through a land of snow-topped fir trees leading to a frozen sugar palace silent with secrets and must find a way to return home.
In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…
Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been anticipating this book for a long time, as this publisher sent out hardcover proof copies to some booktubers and book bloggers late 2020, and I’ve been wanting to read this ever since! I pre-ordered one of the beautiful independent bookshop editions and I was also lucky enough to be sent a paperback proof copy not long afterwards.
This is a nutcracker retelling, and although I haven’t read the original story and I’m not very familiar with it at all, I was really fascinated by this idea of a retelling. This one has some resemblance to The Night Circus and Caraval, which are some of my favourite books of all time.
Chasing after your dreams is a peculiar kind of suffering; it is not for the weak-hearted or cowardly-minded.
I love that this was set in Nottingham, a place I’m familiar with but is not often used as a location! I think the author may be from Nottingham herself, and I loved seeing it portrayed as an Edwardian city. Although I’m not a dancer myself, nor have I ever been, I did like reading about Marietta and her passion for ballet.
I don’t want to say too much about this one because I don’t want to spoil it for others – but there’s elements of Narnia, female friendship, romance (but one that doesn’t overshadow the story!) and family. The world in this book is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so glad I read it around Christmas as it is set over Christmas Eve! I have to say though, not all of the focus is on Christmas and a lot of it is more wintery which I loved.
It requires deep strength and endless determination.
Overall, this is absolutely beautiful and gorgeously written book that I’m so glad I read around Christmas! I sped through this one over a couple of days and I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I just didn’t feel quite as much connection to them as I perhaps could have, which is why I’ve decided to deduct half a star.
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽