Book Reviews

Book Review: Nocturne

By Alyssa Wees

Publication Date:  February 21, 2023

240 Pages

Before she was a teen, Grace had lost everyone she held dear and made the ballet her home.  But now, just when she’s reached the pinnacle of all she’s worked for, she faces losing her best friend when she learns that her ascent to the Prima Ballerina position in her Chicago dance company comes with a caveat: she must live with the new patron, Master La Rosa, who hand-picked her for the lead role.  The only thing that he demands with her is a single waltz at midnight on Sundays.

With no other option, Grace moves in with the mysterious patron.  But the mansion is shrouded in mystery and is more dream than reality.  What was the Master’s real purpose for choosing Grace?  Why her?  And will she be able to choose her destiny or, like so many other things in her life, is it out of her control?

I try not to refer to other reviews when I’m writing up my own, but this time I think I need to.  I’ve seen some opinions that the prose in this novel is purple and overwrought.  I have to disagree.  The lyrical prose makes this novel.  It’s like being caught up in a current and the reader has no choice but to go where it flows.  Honestly, I found this book enchanting and magical.  It was difficult to put down; I wanted to stay immersed in this world that should have been cold and gritty but instead was more of a dreamscape, one that may have hid monsters in the shadows but was beautiful nonetheless.  

“Nocturne” interpreted by Wombo Dream

**The next paragraph contains a few spoilers so skip it if you don’t want to know**

The story itself had elements of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone, although neither was strictly adhered to.  I do wish, at times, the author had delved a little deeper into Grace’s head because some of her actions didn’t quite make sense to me, unless she was also caught up in the dreamworld.  But still, I wanted a little more resolve from her, a reason that she didn’t seem to care about the ballet so soon after moving into the Master’s house.  I wanted to know why she believed Mr. Russo so readily and the big one: how can Death die?  When it comes right down to it, I was hoping for a little more of a HEA (happily ever after) ending.  

Still, it was a delight to read, with prose as gorgeous as the cover.  4.5/5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐+

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House – Ballantine for providing the ARC ebook.  I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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