Book Review: Nocturne by Alyssa Wees


Title: Nocturne

By: Alyssa Wees

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Pages: 240

Release Date: February 21st, 2023

Publisher: Del Rey

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary from Goodreads:

In this haunting, lyrical fantasy set in 1930s Chicago, a talented ballerina finds herself torn between her dreams and her desires when she's pursued by a secretive patron who may be more than he seems.

Growing up in Chicago’s Little Sicily in the years following the Great War, Grace Dragotta has always wanted to be a ballerina, ever since she first peered through the windows of the Near North Ballet Company. So when Grace is orphaned, she chooses the ballet as her home, imagining herself forever ensconced in a transcendent world of light and beauty so different from her poor, immigrant upbringing.

Years later, with the Great Depression in full swing, Grace has become the company's new prima ballerina—though achieving her long-held dream is not the triumph she once envisioned. Time and familiarity have tarnished that shining vision, and her new position means the loss of her best friend in the world. Then she attracts the attention of the enigmatic Master La Rosa as her personal patron, and realizes the world is not as small or constricted as she had come to fear.

Who is her mysterious patron, and what does he want from her? As Grace begins to unlock the Master's secrets, she discovers that there is beauty in darkness as well as light, finds that true friendship cannot be broken by time or distance, and realizes there may be another way entirely to achieve the transcendence she has always sought.


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I don't give out five stars lightly, but this book has earned it. A wonderful read that is a mix of Beauty and the Beast and Black Swan. 

I'm a retired ballerina, and I loved reading about Grace. She had the drive of a dancer, and the will to match. Alyssa Wees knows how to write a wonderful dance scene that I could invasion with ease. To say I was enthralled in the story, is an understatement. 

There were so many twists and turns in this story with the introduction of Master La Rosa. His story is torturous, but filled with hope. I wanted the best for him, but with the amazing story telling, I wasn't sure who to trust until the end. La Rosa was a great character, portrayed in a mysterious light. Loved it.

If I could go back and read this book again and feel the same excitement as the first time, I would in a heartbeat. This was a great read and I can't wait to see what else Wees brings to the table.  

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

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