Book Review: Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar (ARC)
"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."
I received Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar for free by HQ Stories on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for my advanced copy!
WOW what a delightfully enchanting read! I’ve been seeing this book all over Twitter and I loved the look of it so much, it was definitely one of my anticipated reads of the year so when I saw it on NetGalley I requested it immediately! I was swept up into the most magical world and I think I’ve found my new Christmas favourite!
We follow our protagonist Marietta who is feeling disenchanted with her regular life and wants to pursue her dream of dancing. However, when trying to avoid the unwanted advances of the strange newcomer Dr. Drosselmeier she falls through a door to another world - the magical Everwood. Now she must help her new friends and try to escape back to her world before she’s trapped forever.
The descriptions throughout this story was absolutely INCREDIBLE! I loved the amount of rich detail that went into the worldbuilding, I felt like I was walking right next to Marietta throughout the whole book! Plus the descriptions of the food were absolutely sensational! I have a massive sweet tooth and wanted to try every single treat that was mentioned - I’m a terrible baker but I might have to try and make some!
Another element that I thought was fantastic was the focus on female friendships! They formed such strong bonds and it is so important to see! I also really enjoyed seeing Marietta’s confidence grow as she became more sure of herself and determined to follow her passions.
Midnight in Everwood is entrancing, beautiful and full of wonderful adventure - a must read for the Christmas season!