Midnight in Everwood – M.A Kuzniar

Published By: HQ
Pages: 339
Released On: 28/10/2021

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. Whilst she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchased 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.

*****

I had been desperate to read this book, even before it was published, but having asked for it for Christmas, I had to wait a torturous two months without buying it.

This book was just as perfect as I imagined it would be. It’s like a cuddly hug in a book. It’s warming and uplifting and heartwarming and powerful, but scary and timid and thought provoking; fantastical and magical and whimsical.

The description of every little thing is so beautiful that I think that’s one of the main things that makes this book so spectacular. Especially the description of the clothing. One might think writing about different dresses could become repetitive, but the dresses almost become characters in themselves they’re so beautifully described.

I’ve made it known before I’m not a huge fan of remakes, but this isn’t a straight forward Nutcracker retelling. It’s an adult adaptation with enough of if it’s own heart to be different, but with the inspiration of the original magic. You don’t really need to know the story of the Nutcracker to read this, but I think it helps as you can appreciate the little details.

Each character is perfectly written. The evil ones are cruel and vindictive and easily dislikeable, the protagonist is powerful and you will her on throughout, and the secondary characters all have their place in the novel and they feel real. Even the setting of Everwood is a character in and of itself and I think that comes from the magical description.

I will definitely be recommending this book to everyone, no matter the season, but especially at winter time. It’s one of the best written books I’ve read, and you can really appreciate the attention to detail and passion Kuzniar has for her craft.

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