Step into Midnight in Everwood with this exclusive extract

Midnight in Everwood is out now! Read on for an enchanting extract from the book:

Scene Two 

If Marie no longer dared to mention her adventures, she was still besieged by memories of the Kingdom of Sweets; and when she reflected on them, she could see everything clearly, as if she were once again in the Christmas Forest, or on the River of Attar of Roses, or in the City of Candied Fruits. And so, instead of playing as she used to with her playthings, she would sit very quiet and still, lost in thought, and everybody called her ‘the little dreamer’ 

Alexandre Dumas, The Story of a Nutcracker 

The snow was crisp and firm, forging a path of granulated sugar. Marietta wandered deeper into the enchantment. It was heavy with the scent of forest, snow and marzipan. Emerald fir trees towered up, brushing against the midnight patchwork of constellations. When she had last considered the night sky in Nottingham, Orion had been hunting through it, Perseus triumphed over his defeat of Medusa and the charioteer Auriga blazed by. A canvas of Greek mythology, the stories familiar old friends. Here, the stars were a language she did not speak. Pivoting in place, her breaths grew ragged, her thoughts tangled with wonder. ‘How can this be?’ she whispered aloud, uncertain and deeply suspicious of Drosselmeier’s involvement with it. Drosselmeier. The mere thought of his name lanced her with panic. She could not return to that locked ballroom. Far better to hide for a short while until the danger had passed. Even as the cold settled onto her skin and her breath turned to frozen wisps. 

A sweet melody, reminiscent of Chopin’s most beloved nocturne, trickled out from behind the wall of firs to her east. Entranced by its rising and falling notes, Marietta followed the path of the music to a glistening, icy bend of river, lit by glowing globes of ice. Children and adults alike skated along, clad in fur-lined capes and velvet trousers, conversation and laughter spilling from them. Marietta studied the scene. She had been considering whether she’d delved into an elaborate invention of Drosselmeier’s, yet here were people. This could not be his creation. He must have led her to some strange point of entry, trapping her elsewhere until she acquiesced to his demands. Fear prickled down her spine as the curtains were whisked away and Marietta realised what she had been denying for weeks: Drosselmeier possessed strange and powerful gifts. Perhaps it was the confrontation with the physical proof of another world or perhaps it was that Marietta had recovered a long-forgotten sense here, but being in this place reinstated her old, childhood belief in magic. 

And Drosselmeier had been wielding enchantments from her first glimpse of his entry to Nottingham; she had just lacked the belief to recognise it. 

Midnight in Everwood is available here.

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