Book Reviews

Review: Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar

So we all know a beautiful cover is going to entrance me. Combined with the wood cut appeal of Midnight in Everwood – which is one of my favorite cover elements – it was a done deal. This “Nutcracker” retelling is truly magical and is also a story about rebellion and choice. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Having no real inkling of “The Nutcracker” story, I was naturally fascinated by Midnight in Everwood. I immediately felt a kinship to Marietta as she feels confined by the expectations thrust upon her by traditional society. This box of femininity and the confines of her “accepted” future is one that suffocates Marietta. So when a chance for freedom in an audition for a ballet company emerges, she knows she must take it. But in her way stands not only what her family expects of her, but an enigmatic and dangerous admirer.

When she is transported to a magical, but sinister world, Marietta must figure out how to escape yet another gilded cage. When our wishes come with costs, and we are unable to heed the warnings around us, how can we escape? Marietta embarks on a quest for freedom and rebellion even while pieces of her dream are realized. In Midnight in Everwood, Marietta must create alliances and plans for escape even as she discovers she is not alone. Marietta’s story questions what the cost of freedom is to you and those you love.

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Midnight in Everwood is about sacrifice and risk, but it’s also about love and freedom. The lives we have to live, choose to live, and chase to live. Find Midnight in Everwood on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite ballet?

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