Book Reviews

Book Review: The Enchanted Sonata

by Heather Dixon Wallwork

*cover and synopsis from Goodreads*

Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.

Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.


This book was charming.

I was drawn to The Enchanted Sonata by the cover, and by the fact that it is a Nutcracker retelling. I honestly think that it is the only Nutcracker retelling that I’ve heard of, and if you know me, you know that I’m always ready for a good retelling. I love how Wallwork also wove elements of The Pied Piper into the story. The blend created a retelling of the Nutcracker that was familiar and unique all at the same time.

Like I said above, Wallwork’s blending of the fairy tales created a great plot. The characters were endearing. The humor was perfectly timed and placed. And the worldbuilding was very fun–I always find musical magic systems super cool.

My only “complaint” would be the romance aspect. Technically, Clara and the Nutcracker fall in love within the span of about a day, I think. Normally, I don’t like insta love, but it didn’t bother me. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it’s a fairy tale. I also personally read Clara as older than fifteen. I think that made the progression of the romance not feel quite as drastic. So, to sum all of that up, the romance subplot didn’t actually bother me, but it could some people.

If you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling to curl up with next, I recommend The Enchanted Sonata.

Cautions: three kisses; moderate romance; brief, non-graphic violence

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