I was sent this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – Thanks to them and the Wallworkshop for sending me a copy!
Title: The Enchanted Sonata
Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Teens & Y/A
Publisher: The Wallworkshop
Publication Date: 23rd October 2018
Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: 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.
As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I would love it and I’m pleased to say it was a pleasure to read. The book is marketed as a ‘retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper’, I was only familiar with the latter tale but I liked that it had elements I was familiar with in this sense.
The Enchanted Sonata is a captivating story and it took me back to the stories I loved when I was younger. I remember reading The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson and falling in love with this fantastic setting and story – not to be corny, it definitely enchanted me in the same way.
The writing style was so descriptive and everything is so vivid, you could honestly picture the streets of Imperia, with it’s stunning palaces and quaint streets. Not to mention the amazing Pollichinelle Candy Emporium which had me craving some treats – it was so immersive. The settings in the novel have a uniquely European charm – and I loved them so much.
There is plenty of action in the story and while I’m not the biggest fan of rats anyway, the rats in this story are actually monstrous and are part of the wild landscape of Imperia. They pose a real threat, and used by Erik – the pied piper of sorts – Clara and Nikolai (the Nutcracker) must battle multiple enemies.
Music is integral throughout the novel, and rightly so. It adds another dimension to the story and enriches it – Clara’s love for music comes from her father and every time she plays the piano, it is a touching reminder of him. The villain in the story: Erik, uses his music to transform all of the kingdoms children into toys and curses the prince too. This focus on music is also present in the writing itself, as it is so lyrical – I wonder if this is intentional? Either way, it ties it all together beautifully.
Another great element of the book was the focus on grief – many of the characters in the novel; Clara, Nikolai as well as Erik, have faced the loss of a loved one. This is a recurring theme and I think this is a really good portrayal of how grief can affect people in different ways. For Clara, the memory of her father is revisited each time she plays music, but Erik becomes bitter and enraged.
While the romance which develops in the story isn’t central to the plot, it’s a nice addition and while I predicted it happening – it was still very sweet and I enjoyed the development Wallwork provides. I believe the ending certainly leaves it open for a sequel and if this does happen, I’d definitely be interested in reading it.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to any reader who enjoys a charming story with a sweet budding romance, plenty of action and musical elements.
★★★★- 4 Star Rating
Does The Enchanted Sonata sound like a book you’d be interested in? Do you enjoy retellings of classic stories? Would love to chat in the comments!
Until next time,