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Midnight in Everwood

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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. Whil 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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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. Whil 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.

30 review for Midnight in Everwood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Gorgeously whimsical with confectionery descriptions that made me devour this book from start to finish. Midnight in Everwood is set in Nottingham in 1906 and follows Marietta who is passionate about her dancing. A ballet is coming up and she is set to give her final performance before she turns 21 and is forced by her family to say goodbye to her dreams. One day, a mysterious stranger moves in next door and begins to build this elaborate set for her performance. But there's something not quite Gorgeously whimsical with confectionery descriptions that made me devour this book from start to finish. Midnight in Everwood is set in Nottingham in 1906 and follows Marietta who is passionate about her dancing. A ballet is coming up and she is set to give her final performance before she turns 21 and is forced by her family to say goodbye to her dreams. One day, a mysterious stranger moves in next door and begins to build this elaborate set for her performance. But there's something not quite right with it as Marietta discovers when she enters through a door to the enchanting, but oh so dangerous world of Everwood. This is an adult 'The Nutcracker' retelling by E.T.A. Hoffmann (as well as the retelling by Alexandre Dumas), and you can feel the inspirations of the magic that is established in The Nutcracker without being too overwhelming. 'Midnight in Everwood' stands on its own, so reading The Nutcracker first isn't a requirement, but I'm so glad I did because I could see the nuggets of inspiration that lent itself to this story. Kuzniar establishes her own world and imagination with a writing style that will rival some of the literary greats - at times I felt like I was reading a novel by Oscar Wilde or something! Marietta is a strong and proud protagonist who is determined to achieve her dreams and to not be oppressed by the people around her. Sometimes she gets into trouble because of this, but she's a character that stays true to herself all the way through, even when a romance blossoms for her. It's a romance that doesn't hinder the plot or the characterisation of Marietta, and I love when a romance doesn't try to steal the show. I also loved the depiction of female friendship in this too, and there were many moments when Marietta and her new friends are empowered by each other in order to face their obstacles. A gorgeous world is built in this in Everwood, and I felt that spirit from the Kingdom of Toys in 'The Nutcracker'. The descriptions are sensory and confectionary (if that's even a word) and there were a lot of moments where I wanted to curl up with a hot drink and read about the frosty settings. This world does have its dangers though, making it somewhere I kind of wish I could go, but also I don't think it would be a good idea if I did. Not everything is as lovely as it first appears to be, but it's so fun to discover everything along the way. We also have a cruel and vindictive villain in this who I hated. It was very easy to feel for these characters, whether it's compassion for our protagonist, or a sense of loathing for our antagonist, it was a beautifully constructed world filled with a colourful cast of characters. This book is a performance of the highest calibre with show-stopping moments that are gorgeously written. You can see the attention to detail throughout this and 'Midnight in Everwood' is a book I would whole-heartedly recommend to everyone when it arrives in October 2021. A huge thank you to HQ Stories for sending me a gorgeous ARC copy of it. I also filmed a reading vlog where I read the two original Nutcracker stories in preparation for 'Midnight in Everwood', which I also read during the vlog, and you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/M65vLc7tmE0

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sylvie

    I'm a simple girl... I see a Nutcracker retelling and BAM it turns into my most anticipated book of the year. I'm a simple girl... I see a Nutcracker retelling and BAM it turns into my most anticipated book of the year.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    The idea of retelling adult version of Nutcracker is extremely tempting! After seeing this beautifully illustrated, magical cover, only thing in your mind is taking to a journey to Everwood as fast as you can! The beginning of the story was also promising. It took place in 1906. Marietta Stelle was dreaming of becoming a dancer but unfortunately her plans were derailed by her parents’ intension to force her marry with the sinister toy maker next door called Dr. Drosselmeier. She feels in her gut The idea of retelling adult version of Nutcracker is extremely tempting! After seeing this beautifully illustrated, magical cover, only thing in your mind is taking to a journey to Everwood as fast as you can! The beginning of the story was also promising. It took place in 1906. Marietta Stelle was dreaming of becoming a dancer but unfortunately her plans were derailed by her parents’ intension to force her marry with the sinister toy maker next door called Dr. Drosselmeier. She feels in her guts that was something wrong with the man which was absolutely true! She finds herself in Everwood with bunch of other women who were forced to be dancers of the king, after being fooled by neighbor doctor. Before getting killed, she has to find a way to escape this haunted land! The things made me have second thoughts about this book are: haphazardly and one dimensional developed characters and their relationships. I couldn’t relate with Marietta from the beginning and at the captivation process, I was expecting to see more moving, powerful women bounding. Also the love interest as sub plot was not realistic for me! And the conclusion was also semi- satisfying. The idea and the beginning of the story were promising but the entire execution of the classic needed extra development, emotional depth. So I can only give three stars because of creative idea to adapt Nutcracker into adults’ world. But this book still made me feel like I just read a YA fantasy novel! Special thanks to NetGalley and Harper 360 for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Beth, BooksNest

    AD • Review Copy, I received a free copy of this book from HQ Stories in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Midnight in Everwood captured me immediately from the blurb, a magical Nutcracker retelling that promised to carry me away to a fantasy land. And it didn't disappoint. Maria's writing is beautifully, whimsical and paints such beautiful imagery. To me this book had a slight touch of the gothic to it which just added to the growing atmosphere of a stunning winter landscape contrasted aga AD • Review Copy, I received a free copy of this book from HQ Stories in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Midnight in Everwood captured me immediately from the blurb, a magical Nutcracker retelling that promised to carry me away to a fantasy land. And it didn't disappoint. Maria's writing is beautifully, whimsical and paints such beautiful imagery. To me this book had a slight touch of the gothic to it which just added to the growing atmosphere of a stunning winter landscape contrasted against the unpleasant situation our main character Marietta finds herself trapped in. Set in an Edwardian society in the North of England, there is beauty in every page and M. A. Kuzniar's writing made the English setting feel very romanticised, which made the reading experience even more enjoyable. I haven't read many books from this time period, but I immediately felt at home with Marietta's story and felt compelled to see her journey. I love reading about a main character with passions and Marietta's is ballet, something I've not read much about, but loved exploring this talent through our protagonist. Marietta seeps independence and strength, she is also trapped in so many ways in this book, but the growth we see her go through truly feels freeing for her. Ballet is a delicate and elegant dance, it is soft and graceful and Marietta encompasses these characteristics too, but she is also sharp and alert and breaks the mould her parents want her to fit. She is her own best cheerleader and I loved the references throughout this book to her rights as a woman and her worth. I didn't expect this novel to make me feel empowered as a female, but it did, I felt proud of Marietta's achievements because of how hard she has to push for them. The magic system in Midnight in Everwood is one of my favourites, a truly fantastical world where anything can happen. It's accurate to say this book is for fans of Garber and Morgenstern, the attention to detail when it comes to the different magical features of the world Marietta find herself in are completely reminiscent of these writing styles. I feel that glorious food comes hand in hand with enchanting magic in this novel because wow the descriptions and mouthwatering food creations. I read this in the week of Christmas and I think that was smart because I was never short of sweet treats to satisfy the cravings this book gave me! Maria's writing is truly hypnotising, I felt myself falling down the rabbit hole when reading this book, it really swept me away. The imagery is still so vivid in my head and I still feel very invested in the characters, who I am inventing my own stories for after this book ends. I feel incredibly lucky to have read this book early and to have been able to enjoy Maria's excellent talent and magical writing. This book comes out in October 2021, but you can preorder it here. 

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    3.5*** rounded up. ”You have discovered the delights of Everwood, of course. A land of ice and sugar, enchanted beyond measure. From which door did you seek entry?” I would say that this book had quite a slow start. The first 30% is of Marietta in Nottingham. She is a young woman from a prominent family who is being stifled by her parents expectations of her to wed, when all she dreams of is dancing. When a new neighbour arrives, Drosselmeier, he sets his attentions on Marietta despite the feeling 3.5*** rounded up. ”You have discovered the delights of Everwood, of course. A land of ice and sugar, enchanted beyond measure. From which door did you seek entry?” I would say that this book had quite a slow start. The first 30% is of Marietta in Nottingham. She is a young woman from a prominent family who is being stifled by her parents expectations of her to wed, when all she dreams of is dancing. When a new neighbour arrives, Drosselmeier, he sets his attentions on Marietta despite the feeling of unease she gets around him. Drosselmeier is so creepy and Marietta just wants to get away. However, Drosselmeier won’t let her runaway that easily, and in his cruelty, he sends her to Everwood - a place that is magical and has access to multiple doors leading to multiple universes, however, this magical place has its own faults. It is run by a cruel, tyrannical king who enjoys collecting objects. And Marietta becomes one of them. The above paragraph is basically what is known in the description of the book. However, this was actually the first 40-50% of the book- so much of the plot is given away and I just prefer reading my books with a few more surprises. In the beginning of the book you do get to see how Marietta feels confined in her life of expectation and you, as a reader, want her to run away from it all. And while I did find this beginning of the book very slow moving, once Marietta enters the world of Everwood the pace and writing picks up. The author does well in describing this magical, dreamlike town of Everwood with its own tensions and rebellions arising. We get to see how Marietta develops bravery and her saving grace is the female bonds she’s able to form, as well as a forbidden love interest. I loved the female friendship in this and seeing Marietta come into her own. I also really liked her developing romance with Captain Legat and how sweet this was. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Christmas has come to September with this sweet retelling of Nutcracker. Marietta Stelle eats, sleeps, and dreams ballet. However, it doesn't matter how skilled a performer she is nor how much she longs for the stage, her days at the dance studio are numbered. Her family desire her to settle down with a husband and you can't be the perfect, doting wife if you are spending hours sweating at the barre or limping around on blistered and bloody toes. Dr Drosselmeier arrives to town and forms a tempor Christmas has come to September with this sweet retelling of Nutcracker. Marietta Stelle eats, sleeps, and dreams ballet. However, it doesn't matter how skilled a performer she is nor how much she longs for the stage, her days at the dance studio are numbered. Her family desire her to settle down with a husband and you can't be the perfect, doting wife if you are spending hours sweating at the barre or limping around on blistered and bloody toes. Dr Drosselmeier arrives to town and forms a temporary distraction from the family's squabbles. All are intrigued by his mysterious figure and enchanted by his miniature, woodwork creations. Marietta finds in him a sympathetic ear and an individual captivated by her performances. She is magic upon the stage but he might possess a far darker and more literal source that will alter her life forever. This was as enchanting and whimsical a read as I had anticipated. I loved how Kuzniar kept the bones of the original tale and delivered the reader a slightly different variation of the magic it contained. This was, for all the beauty it featured, a subtly dark read and I loved how each decision made or mystery uncovered only ever ensured this was increased. Marietta was at the centre of it all and I loved venturing with her into lands unknown and meeting with figures unlike any she had met before, in 20th century England. She grew in abilities and confidence as her purpose became revealed and sought continually to craft her own version of the future she desired for herself, regardless of the desires of others. This was a darling little tale, which proved as inspirational as it was charming. The conclusion was a hopeful one and it ensured I closed the final page entirely delighted by all that had transpired. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, M. A. Kuzniar, and the publisher, HQ, for this opportunity.

  7. 4 out of 5

    2.5 stars. poor execution, very slow pacing, questionable plot holes when you really sit and think about it, and a whole lot of not-that-good-at-all-but-not-the-worst-thing-ive-read-so-lets-just-force-read-through-it-and-pretend-i-didnt-read-that-part-to-make-this-read-bearable. i love the nutcracker, though!

  8. 5 out of 5

    ale ♡︎

    nUTCRACKER RETELLING?!?!?!? tHE FUCK I'M IN nUTCRACKER RETELLING?!?!?!? tHE FUCK I'M IN

  9. 4 out of 5

    ✩ Yaz ✩

    A Nutcracker retelling? Sign me up! Oh my god I saw the author posted a photo of the clothbound hardcover with the gold foiling and starry endpapers and it's absolutely gorgeous 😍 A Nutcracker retelling? Sign me up! Oh my god I saw the author posted a photo of the clothbound hardcover with the gold foiling and starry endpapers and it's absolutely gorgeous 😍

  10. 5 out of 5

    Micheline Ryckman

    If you enjoy a slower fairytale focused on prose and elaborately decadent descriptions then this is perfect for you!

  11. 5 out of 5

    CC

    "Ida’s brows drew together in the vaguest semblance of a frown. Once, she had smiled freely, only frowning whenever life conspired to displease her. Once, her emotions had tumbled across her face with abandon. That was before the fine lines had started their creep over her features. They dug in like sharp-fingered goblins and gnawed at her youthfulness, encouraging Ida to close her face off to the world. Witnessing this, Marietta felt she almost understood the lengths lengths Countess Báthory ha "Ida’s brows drew together in the vaguest semblance of a frown. Once, she had smiled freely, only frowning whenever life conspired to displease her. Once, her emotions had tumbled across her face with abandon. That was before the fine lines had started their creep over her features. They dug in like sharp-fingered goblins and gnawed at her youthfulness, encouraging Ida to close her face off to the world. Witnessing this, Marietta felt she almost understood the lengths lengths Countess Báthory had resorted to in her battle for youth. As reading the Aeneid would have her believe, the descent to the underworld was easy." My notation for the above quote in my ARC was simply a bewildered 'What?" which sums up almost the entirety of my review. Midnight in Everwood just didn't appeal to me. The novel is drowning in so many new writer pitfalls that it is a chore to wade through, which is unfortunate because with better execution I may have enjoyed it. Adapting a beloved classic is a tall order, but I expected more even from a YA novel. The author tries to write expressive prose but instead of being eloquent it is excessive. Dialogue is stilted and even for the 19th century reads unrealistically. There is a lack overall of varied sentence structure so many descriptors are oft repeated such as 'fine' and 'the finest' to denote quality. There's a lot of talk about eyes, and also hair. Many foreheads are furrowed and many brows wrinkled. There have been excellent retellings of old stories like Tangled, Uprooted and of course Wicked so it can be done. I believe there is the seed of a great idea in Everwood but it hasn't yet been realised.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kilikina

    This sounds absolutely SPECTACULAR

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charli

    A Nutcracker retelling?... Ummmm, yes please. This wonderful novel is set in 1906’s England and follows Marietta Stelle, a young adult who is passionate about ballet but is about to be forced to give it up by her family when she turns 21, because they want her to get married and be the loveable wife any husband would be lucky to get, and that does not involve hours spent at the ballet studio. Enter the creepy Dr Drosselmeier, and Marietta finds herself sucked into another realm bursting with suga A Nutcracker retelling?... Ummmm, yes please. This wonderful novel is set in 1906’s England and follows Marietta Stelle, a young adult who is passionate about ballet but is about to be forced to give it up by her family when she turns 21, because they want her to get married and be the loveable wife any husband would be lucky to get, and that does not involve hours spent at the ballet studio. Enter the creepy Dr Drosselmeier, and Marietta finds herself sucked into another realm bursting with sugar, ice and people warning her to leave, does she listen? No she does not. She ends up as a guest of the King and finds herself in his palace, which is said to be inescapable… good luck girl, good luck. I got through this gorgeous retelling very quickly because I just couldn’t put it down, the author did such an amazing job at staying true to the original tale of the Nutcracker while simultaneously recreating it is such a beautiful and magical way, which is not an easy feat to achieve. The world building and descriptions were absolutely incredible, I mean at one point my mouth was actually watering while I was reading the food descriptions, holy cow they actually made me hungry. I wanted to dive into the pages of this book and experience the magic and atmosphere for myself because it was just so beautifully written. Maria is a very talented writer and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. Definitely an author to watch! Thank you so much to HQ for gifting me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    I was so excited to read this Nutcracker retelling! With delectable, dreamy imagery, and a stunning setting, I assumed this would be the perfect festive beginning to the holiday season. However I found most of the characters one dimensional, the pacing rather slow, and the prose a little too flowery. Listening to Tchaikovsky definitely enhanced my experience while reading, especially all of the ballet references. But I found myself starting to lose interest about 60 percent into the story, after I was so excited to read this Nutcracker retelling! With delectable, dreamy imagery, and a stunning setting, I assumed this would be the perfect festive beginning to the holiday season. However I found most of the characters one dimensional, the pacing rather slow, and the prose a little too flowery. Listening to Tchaikovsky definitely enhanced my experience while reading, especially all of the ballet references. But I found myself starting to lose interest about 60 percent into the story, after she finally wanders into the magical Everwood… until we meet a few charming soldiers. The possibility of a forbidden love recaptured my attention, and was one of my favorite parts. Considering every other man in this entire story is awful or alarming (except her brother Frederick), I appreciated the glorious “cinnamon roll” of a man that is the love interest. Also her found family or sisters, Dellara and Pirlipata were a highlight as well. Overall this was a cute Nutcracker retelling, with a lot of fairytale, mythology, and literary references. I’m sure a lot of readers will enjoy this, it just felt very young and wasn’t for me. Thank you to M.A. Kuzniar, Harper 360 and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Smith

    Thank you to the publishers and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I believe I first caught wind of Midnight in Everwood through bookstagram, when the cover reveal happened, in which I immediately fell in love with, especially the premise. An adult fantasy nutcracker retelling with a gorgeous cover? Sign me up! It comes out in the US in the new year and I didn’t want to wait since it’s very much a Christmas read so I preordered a UK version, which shipped on the exact same day Thank you to the publishers and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I believe I first caught wind of Midnight in Everwood through bookstagram, when the cover reveal happened, in which I immediately fell in love with, especially the premise. An adult fantasy nutcracker retelling with a gorgeous cover? Sign me up! It comes out in the US in the new year and I didn’t want to wait since it’s very much a Christmas read so I preordered a UK version, which shipped on the exact same day the ARC dropped on Edelweiss. Midnight in Everwood is a Nutcracker retelling through and through. It follows Marietta Stelle, a young woman in Edwardian England who longs to be a professional ballet dancer but is forbidden by her father to follow that path, instead pressured to marry and be a society lady. Her last year of dancing is coming to an end and her life is upturned when a mysterious figure moves to her neighborhood… the toymaker Dr Drosselmeier, who enchants everyone around him and sets his sights on Marietta, who is unsettled and unnerved by him. On Christmas Eve and a terrifying encounter with Drosselmeier, Marietta is transported to the realm of Everwood. It’s a magical land of sweets, snow, glittering balls, but a danger lurks below the surface in this magical realm too, and Marietta still needs to find her freedom. I will say this book excelled in the setting and atmosphere. It was the perfect winter fantasy read, lush and decadent with many tantalizing food descriptions, marzipan streets, vanilla snow, ball gowns that dripped frosting and flung snowflakes, ballet terminology, however that is really the only main thing I liked about this book. The writing style was not completely terrible, but I didn’t feel as though it “worked.” It felt weirdly formal and very stiff, with plenty of odd word choices, but it got easier to ignore as the book progressed and I forced myself to turn a blind eye toward it for the sake of the story. While I understood Marietta, her goals and ambitions, she felt very flat and I can’t say I really liked her. There WERE attempts to make her not flat, however I don’t think they really amounted to anything to make her memorable, aside from her being a ballet dancer. She would “learn her lessons” and apologize for her behavior in a way that came too quickly and too surface level to be very compelling. The villains, both of them, also suffered from severe two-dimensional-ness. Both were evil for the sake of being evil and nothing offered to cause or explain it. It really surprised me for an adult fantasy novel, where I’ve come to expect at least a little bit of nuance in writing compelling villains that resemble actual people instead of cartoons. The romance did grow on me a little, but I can’t say I really loved any of the characters, including the love interest. Marietta had some good friends by the end, but they were just okay as characters. I think the ending was fitting, however slightly disappointing, which left me at feeling like Midnight in Everwood was just okay. I will recommend it for winter aesthetic / Christmas reads or perhaps if I ever get a specific “do you know of any ballet related fantasy books” question, but I can’t say I recommend it otherwise. I wanted to love it, and I didn’t HATE it, but it ended up being kinda “meh”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abby Salter

    4.5 stars I loved this!! This story was just so magical and completely transported me into this snowy, fairytale world. I was a bit unsure in the beginning but was very quickly swept off my feet. I seriously could not put this book down for the second half. I went from 60% in to 95% without even realising it. I read this on holiday in very hot weather but for me it was winter and snowy. Pros: - I really liked the writing style - The characters. - the Plot - the whole Nutcracker retelling Cons: - 4.5 stars I loved this!! This story was just so magical and completely transported me into this snowy, fairytale world. I was a bit unsure in the beginning but was very quickly swept off my feet. I seriously could not put this book down for the second half. I went from 60% in to 95% without even realising it. I read this on holiday in very hot weather but for me it was winter and snowy. Pros: - I really liked the writing style - The characters. - the Plot - the whole Nutcracker retelling Cons: - It is a bit cliche and tropey in places. I didn't mind though - I believe this is being marketed as Adult but I feel this is better suited to the YA audience. Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fifi | A Fairytale Dream

    The way that this author writes….the only way I can describe it is ethereal. Simply ethereal. I cannot stress this enough: I have never read writing like this consistently poetic throughout each chapter. “They were as translucent and delicate as if they had been crafted from moonbeams. Ballet was poetry in motion and Marietta lived to lose herself in dance…” “Of the icy wasteland of the vast northern tundra, where reindeer roam, the moon shivers and the Northern Lights enchant the skies.” “Mariet The way that this author writes….the only way I can describe it is ethereal. Simply ethereal. I cannot stress this enough: I have never read writing like this consistently poetic throughout each chapter. “They were as translucent and delicate as if they had been crafted from moonbeams. Ballet was poetry in motion and Marietta lived to lose herself in dance…” “Of the icy wasteland of the vast northern tundra, where reindeer roam, the moon shivers and the Northern Lights enchant the skies.” “Marietta was presented with a music box that opened to reveal a waltzing princess. A creature of cloud wisps and the pale blue of starling eggs, with a gown that frothed about her legs in as many layers as a mille-feuille.” WHO EVEN WRITES LIKE THIS? It’s like reading poetry in fiction format. Even something as simple as a bath is described as a “rose and bergamot scented storm”. An outfit is described as a “frothery of petticoats”. The talent??? Other authors: “She slipped on a dressing gown and stretched, happy she had nothing planned for the day.” M.A. Kuzniar: “She slipped a white cotton tulle peignoir over her night chemise and stretched, luxuriating in the time unspooling out before her.” Ok I’ll stop. But you get it. The writing. ETHEREAL. POETIC. UNLIKE THE WAY OTHER AUTHORS WRITE. This is a lot like Narnia but instead of the back of a wardrobe it’s the back of a grandfather clock. This book is magical, dark, with the most stunningly visual world building I’ve ever read. It has all the luxury and glamour of high society while having a subtly dark tone behind the fantasy. The Everwood, a land of ice and sugar, is the most beautiful and enchanting world with a palace made of frozen sugar, huts made of frozen gingerbread, and its eternal winter setting made me feel so happy. As beautiful and enticing as it is, it has a darkness to it, especially within the sugar palace. The world building is over the top astounding, with Everwood being one of three kingdoms the comprise the world of Celesta. Not to mention, this is the PERFECT book for the Christmas season. “Now, she chugged past an assortment of stately homes, past the castle and through the city centre as night sighed and settled in. The dome of the town hall was a shadowed husk, the last of the lamplighters trailed past ancient spired churches and modern department stores, their streetlights sputtering to life. And everything dripped with festivity. Carols leaked from church doors, chestnuts roasted on carts and children pressed their faces against toyshop windows. Tomorrow would bring December.” This is a book for lovers of Christmas and ballet, who dream of far off worlds and opening doorways to magical fairytale lands. Absolute perfection.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Book Wormy

    #Netgalley #ARC #MidnightInEverwood This ARC was provided by HQ (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. Perfect Winter Magic! I love, love, loved this book my only regret is that I didn’t read it for the first time at Christmas, my recommendation to you is if you like the sound of this book wait until it is wintery where you are (for England that would be approx. December until April LOL) get yourself cuddled up in your favourite PJs, grab a mug of hot chocolate and settle in for the ride #Netgalley #ARC #MidnightInEverwood This ARC was provided by HQ (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. Perfect Winter Magic! I love, love, loved this book my only regret is that I didn’t read it for the first time at Christmas, my recommendation to you is if you like the sound of this book wait until it is wintery where you are (for England that would be approx. December until April LOL) get yourself cuddled up in your favourite PJs, grab a mug of hot chocolate and settle in for the ride. Full review here https://thereadersroom.org/2021/11/05...

  19. 5 out of 5

    K.S. Marsden

    Marietta wishes to avoid suitors and family duty; and follow her passion for ballet. On Christmas Eve, she falls through a clock and ends up in a world of ice and sugar; where she becomes the new toy for a cruel king. I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I've not seen any form of the Nutcracker before, so I don't know how closely it follows the original ballet/story. It is the early 1900's, and the world is changing; but not fast enough for Marietta. She is soon t Marietta wishes to avoid suitors and family duty; and follow her passion for ballet. On Christmas Eve, she falls through a clock and ends up in a world of ice and sugar; where she becomes the new toy for a cruel king. I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I've not seen any form of the Nutcracker before, so I don't know how closely it follows the original ballet/story. It is the early 1900's, and the world is changing; but not fast enough for Marietta. She is soon to turn 21, and after years rejecting suitors, her parents have told her that she will have to accept a proposal in the New Year. All Marietta wants is to keep dancing, and will go to any lengths to follow her dreams to be a professional ballet dancer. When their mysterious new neighbour Dr Drosselmeier takes a keen interest in her, Marietta sees past his easy charm, and senses something dangerous. She escapes him into another world, one full of ice and sugar, and strangely welcoming people that all tell her to leave. Marietta ignores the warnings, and soon becomes a "guest" of the king, and his inescapable palace. I really enjoyed this. As I mentioned previously, I don't know how heavily it borrowed from the originals; but I loved the world, it was simply magical. The magic is easy to follow, and although Marietta rarely leaves the palace, you get to learn about the rest of Everwood and the world; thanks to her roommates Pirlipata and Dellara. I loved how the friendship developed between the three women. Marietta has never had close female friends, and doesn't know how to act around them. It always hovers in the background, whether she can trust them; but it turns into something strangely positive in the dark months Marietta is trapped. There's also the sweet romance brewing between Marietta and one of the soldiers. I thought that there were a couple of blips in Marietta's reasoning - mainly her attitude when she first went into the castle. And later on, when her judgement seems a bit too focussed on her secret romance, rather than the bigger picture she has been so faithful to. Also - small note - yes for setting the story in the UK that is Not-London! Overall, this was a great story, and I look forward to more of this author's work.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    It’s a Nutcracker re-telling y’all!! And it sounds magical!!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    So here we are, one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I was so unbelievably excited for this book and it did not disappoint. AN ADULT RETELLING OF THE NUTCRACKER GUYS ARE YOU HEARING THIS?! Atmospheric, enthralling and utterly captivating, I challenge you to put it down. You’re transported back in time and into a christmassy landscape. Marietta is a wonderful MC who just wants her freedom. I love everything about this book and I will happily recommend it to everyone!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Robey

    This is a story to get lost in. Full of magical descriptions and imagery it is a masterpiece in storytelling. I could almost taste and touch the sugar coated palace and village of Everwood - a confectionery delight which hid darker secrets. I loved the relationship between Marietta, Pirlipata and Dellara - such different characters but so strong together. The story of their empowerment was a huge part of the adventure and was wonderful to read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.

    Like seriously this sounds just so amazing and finally, my prayers are being answered and we have a nutcracker ya retelling! Like seriously this sounds just so amazing and finally, my prayers are being answered and we have a nutcracker ya retelling!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    ‘Might I inquire as to where I am?' 'Why, you have discovered the delights of Everwood, of course. A land of ice and sugar, enchanted beyond measure.’ I had high expectations for this book … and I am thrilled to report it was everything I wished for and then some. This is a story that you immerse yourself in, lose yourself in as it is deliciously full of magical descriptions and imagery - literally and figuratively. From sugar coated villages one could only dream of, to aspirations of fulfilling ‘Might I inquire as to where I am?' 'Why, you have discovered the delights of Everwood, of course. A land of ice and sugar, enchanted beyond measure.’ I had high expectations for this book … and I am thrilled to report it was everything I wished for and then some. This is a story that you immerse yourself in, lose yourself in as it is deliciously full of magical descriptions and imagery - literally and figuratively. From sugar coated villages one could only dream of, to aspirations of fulfilling your dreams. ‘She could not sleepwalk through a life of luncheons and dinners and a marriage that would pin her in place, a butterfly with steel pins puncturing its wings, preserved and beautiful in its glass cage though its heart beat no longer. She needed to set herself free.’ Midnight in Everwood follows Marietta with her passion for ballet yet her family will force her to give it up in favour of marriage. That is until something magical and unforeseen happens and she ends up in Everwood. Inspired by ‘The Nutcracker’, this one's for adults who are open to magical realism. Acknowledgements to the original are subtle but recognisable with no prerequisite to be fully au fait with the original. ‘It’s an empowering act, stepping into your own identity, forging a deeper empathy with yourself.’ M.A. Kuzniar’s writing is sublime. Her creative and imaginative retelling is exquisite. Her prose is extraordinary at times. Her world building everything one could imagine and more with descriptions and imagery sweeping across all your senses. ‘It is beautiful here. I can feel my pulse slowing, my worries waning.' You will admire the strength of character of Marietta with her determination to stay true to her dreams. I also fully appreciated that the romance was most definitely not the main focus. It is beautiful but Kuzniar stays true to her conviction to allow Marietta to be all she can and achieve her heart's desire. I would even go so far as to say it is, in fact, the female friendships that hold the spotlight being truly heartwarming and inspiring. On the flip side the villain is truly villainous and terribly vindictive - this can be a harsh and cruel world. All up, the cast of characters demonstrate a real depth and are highly engaging for the reader. ‘Only the most magical things happen at midnight. When mortal folk are dreaming, safe in their beds, it is then that the sprites and goblins creep out and the air crackles with wild magic.’ How to sum this up? This version - an adult Nut Cracker - is exquisite, enthralling and totally worth your while if this is something that appeals to you. I loved this book and highly recommend you take a trip to the magical land of Everwood. ‘Everwood might be spun from sugar and enchantments but it was rotten to the core.’ This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    ⭐️ 2 ⭐️ I really wanted to love this book; the cover is gorgeous, and the sprayed edge edition is a work of art, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to my expectations. The story is ploddingly slow-paced and it seemed to take an age before we got anywhere near the magic of Everwood. In my opinion the story lacks depth and the characters are very one dimensional. Marietta, the main character comes across as spoilt and brat-like. The flowery, sickly-sweet, overly sugared prose made this a difficult b ⭐️ 2 ⭐️ I really wanted to love this book; the cover is gorgeous, and the sprayed edge edition is a work of art, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to my expectations. The story is ploddingly slow-paced and it seemed to take an age before we got anywhere near the magic of Everwood. In my opinion the story lacks depth and the characters are very one dimensional. Marietta, the main character comes across as spoilt and brat-like. The flowery, sickly-sweet, overly sugared prose made this a difficult book for me to pick up each time, so many repeat descriptions of ‘butterscotch eyes’, ‘molten chocolate’ and other food related similes that instead of tempting me, just grated on me and turned my stomach too much in the end. Sadly, not for me. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC, in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nom

    Many Thanks to #Netgalley and #HQStories for the review copy of this book by M. A. Kuzniar. I have to be honest here so I’ll keep this one short. I REALLY struggled to read this book. It literally took me over 2 weeks of trying to get through it and constantly wondering if I should just give up. The concept is good, the idea was good, but I unfortunately thought the execution was bad. The adjectives were far too many and I’m not a reader who can skim through parts. I constantly found myself paus Many Thanks to #Netgalley and #HQStories for the review copy of this book by M. A. Kuzniar. I have to be honest here so I’ll keep this one short. I REALLY struggled to read this book. It literally took me over 2 weeks of trying to get through it and constantly wondering if I should just give up. The concept is good, the idea was good, but I unfortunately thought the execution was bad. The adjectives were far too many and I’m not a reader who can skim through parts. I constantly found myself pausing to wonder what is “whisper-thin black lace” and how thoughts can be “sticky as caramel”?! Describing words that just didn’t make sense to me. All the way through the entire book. I also struggled with the relationships in this book. I know in the end it’s supposed to show empowerment of women but I just don’t think that came across well at all. Yes the main character got her happy ending but she was so scared all the way through but somehow achieved winning battles, once with a ballet shoe that somehow she was wearing just a bit later…. I don’t like to say it but this book really didn’t do anything for me except wind me up, a lot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I really wanted to love this, but there were just too many inaccuracies in the historical setting and ballet descriptions. There's also the prose style which was clearly supposed to evoke an atmospheric and vivid setting, but really added nothing to the story so the reality was a lot of purple prose without any depth. The characters were also very one dimensional. None of them had a unique voice, and we never got a clear sense of their personality beyond their archetype. The dialogue was stilted I really wanted to love this, but there were just too many inaccuracies in the historical setting and ballet descriptions. There's also the prose style which was clearly supposed to evoke an atmospheric and vivid setting, but really added nothing to the story so the reality was a lot of purple prose without any depth. The characters were also very one dimensional. None of them had a unique voice, and we never got a clear sense of their personality beyond their archetype. The dialogue was stilted and not reflective of how anyone would actually speak. They seemed to just exist as opportunities for the author to make grand, flowery declarations that sound profound, but end up ringing hollow in the context of the narrative. I was also surprised to see this book marketed to adults because it seems better suited to a YA audience. That's not a knock on the quality of YA novels (some of favorite books are YA), but more a comment on the maturity of our main character. While she may be faced with some very adult life decisions, she reacts to them with the emotional intelligence of a child. She persists under the mistaken belief that the empowerment she feels from dreaming about life as a ballerina is enough to make it true. She never stops to consider any of the obstacles in her way, or consider what she can do to eliminate those problems. She doesn't do anything beyond talk about how much she wants to dance, how much she doesn't want what other girls want, and how powerful that dream makes her feel. By the end of the novel, I was just annoyed from being inside the head of a character that moves passively through her life, waiting for things to happen to her rather than putting any effort to making things happen.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Panna Fox

    Magical from the very first page even though the actual magic does not appear until later on. I loved how slow-paced it was: allowing the reader to savour every single word, sentence, page. The story follows a young girl who finds herself in rather difficult position: I believe one can call it difficult, you know: being sucked into another realm. I am in love with the story, the sophisticated language and the character of Marietta. A must read for the fans of The Nutcracker and early twentieth c Magical from the very first page even though the actual magic does not appear until later on. I loved how slow-paced it was: allowing the reader to savour every single word, sentence, page. The story follows a young girl who finds herself in rather difficult position: I believe one can call it difficult, you know: being sucked into another realm. I am in love with the story, the sophisticated language and the character of Marietta. A must read for the fans of The Nutcracker and early twentieth century vibes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brend

    Dnf at 65% because it just wasn't for me but it wasn't bad. The writing was definitely not my favourite, but I know a lot of people will like it. The pacing was a bit slow and I'm simply not interested in the characters enough to keep going. Dnf at 65% because it just wasn't for me but it wasn't bad. The writing was definitely not my favourite, but I know a lot of people will like it. The pacing was a bit slow and I'm simply not interested in the characters enough to keep going.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tien

    A gorgeous cover and who doesn't love story of The Nutcracker, Midnight in Everwood is a scrumptious delight combining dreams, love, and magic. A protagonist who loves to dance and dares to dream. A world full of glitter and luscious delectable desserts. Strong female characters who persevere and fight for their freedom. "Ballet resides in your bones; it courses through your blood. For a dancer, it is the very essence of our identity, stripped down to its rawest, most intrinsic parts; you cannot A gorgeous cover and who doesn't love story of The Nutcracker, Midnight in Everwood is a scrumptious delight combining dreams, love, and magic. A protagonist who loves to dance and dares to dream. A world full of glitter and luscious delectable desserts. Strong female characters who persevere and fight for their freedom. "Ballet resides in your bones; it courses through your blood. For a dancer, it is the very essence of our identity, stripped down to its rawest, most intrinsic parts; you cannot leave it behind no more than you could forsake your own soul. Feel it. Feel the exquisite pain that comes from the purest form of love, for that is what it means to dance ballet." This tale is told from the perspective of the ballerina, Marietta Stelle, as she struggles between her dreams of dancing and her parents' expectations of an advantageous marriage. An encounter with a mysterious new neighbour caused her to stumble into a truly magical world which at the start reminds me very much of Narnia. However, this world holds its own darkness disguised under a blinding crisp shiny surface. A very easy read with a likeable protagonist who developed a backbone and an enchanting magical universe; Midnight in Everwood is a wonderful and dreamy read -perfect for that Christmas vibe. My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

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