blogmas · Blogmas 2022 · review

Review: Midnight in Everwood

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.

Midnight in Everwood was on my TBR from last year, and I am so happy that I finally got round to it! The novel is a nutcracker retelling, and I will admit that I know nothing about the original story beside the Barbie retelling of it. Although, now I do want to read the original story! It did mean though that I went into the retelling with knowing virtually nothing about the original story, so that might impact my review slightly.

The first half of the novel did not have me sold, and I started to think that I had over hyped this one for myself. It was very slow, and I found myself getting a little bit confused by all of the characters and I started losing track quite a bit. However, I had this book on my TBR for over a year, so I did not want to give up on. Besides, I had seen so many good things about the novel that I refused to believe that this was it.

Thankfully, I ploughed through, and the second half of the book was as magical and wonderful as I had hoped it would be!

It was wonderful and I really enjoyed the main character. I thought she was incredibly strong willed and really fought for what she wanted. She was a feminist in a time where it wasn’t acceptable and passionate about other social injustices. She was also really passionate about ballet and her achievements in the arts.

The romance in the novel was brief and sort of a background for the majority of the novel, but when it did come into fruition it was wonderful and felt like a very natural build up and progression. The characters that were always at the forefront were Dellara and Pirlipata who were incredible, and I loved them so much. They were fierce and kind and loving, but so strong willed and brave too. The trio of woman made for such a great friendship and reliance on each other. It was clear that these three would do everything they could to protect one another.

Whilst I felt like the first half of the book dragged, I could not get enough of the second half. To the point where I had about 60 pages left, and I was not ready for the novel to end. I also wanted nothing more than a sequel, and as it stands right now this is a standalone.

If you’re looking for a magical, Christmas retelling that is both beautiful, heartwarming and breathtaking, I would highly recommend this one!

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