’It was a rainy day that the magic came, and once magic has entered your life, you stay in its glittering clutch forever’
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 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…
My thoughts: inspired by The Nutcracker, this is a magical fairy tale fantasy for adults. Perfect for a winter’s evening reading, we follow aspiring ballet dancer Marietta through a magic clock into another world, one fraught with dangers but also where she’ll find friendship and love.
Rejecting the strictures of early 20th century society, refusing marriage to the frightening Drosselmieir (named for Clara’s godfather in the ballet, and the book that inspired it) and his magical creations, Marietta wants to choose her own path and not the one of marriage and obedience her father expects of her. She’s an inspiring and brave character, fighting back against Everwood’s evil king, gaining freedom for herself and her friends, then exerting that strength of will to set out on her own road, not wanting or needing her family’s money.
Lyrical and beautifully written, this is a Gothic delight with its fairy tale land of sugar hiding the bitterness beneath.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.