Monday 4 October 2021

A Discovering Diamonds Review of Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar

Nottingham, England

"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…"

To think that this is a sweet, sugary journey through scenes from The Nutcracker ballet with Sugar Plum fairies and sparkling kings and queens, would be wrong and may put you off reading what is a piece of dark fantasy, twisting the traditional view of sugar and candy canes and marzipan as being Good and that beauty is always a good thing. 

The world Marietta comes from—Nottingham in 1906—is rigid and devoid of magic, where fairies are small and cute and fun and the name Drosselmaier conjures images of a broad smile, a wide turquoise cloak, and a benign gentleman with a magic touch all moving to the sound of Tchaikovsky. What she discovers when she hides in a grandfather clock, is, on the surface, the land of fairies and magic, of soldiers decked in smart uniforms and sweets and chocolate everywhere. However, the sugary perfection of Everwood hides a dark secret—a despotic king who has harnessed magic for himself having murdered the previous king and queen, automatons who protect him without question; a king who is insecure, jealous and suspicious. Marietta can only blame her misfortunes on herself, but she finds a strength to fight back, as she discovers love in its many forms, and someone she dislikes more than her parents.

This could be read by anyone from around fourteen years old upwards, There is darkness and snippets of real threat, but most is hidden from view, but enough remains to render this still readable and enjoyable for a cynical adult. Both can relate to the grumpy parents trying to persuade their offspring that they know best, though maybe Theodore loses some respect drinking sherry AND cognac with dinner!

If you love ballet, if you love The Nutcracker—if you HATE The Nutcracker—this is still for you. 

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Nicky Galliers
 e-version reviewed

You will find several items of interest on the sidebar