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NOCTURNE by Alyssa Wees

In this gorgeous and haunting 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.

Grace has always wanted to be a ballerina, ever since she first peered through the windows of the Near North Ballet company. The elegance of the dance seemed transcendent to an immigrant child of the working poor, and so, when she is orphaned, it is to the ballet that she flees.

Years later, Grace is on the verge of becoming the company’s new prima ballerina – though she is beginning to realise that achieving her long-held dream may not be the triumph she once envisioned. Then Grace attracts the attention of the enigmatic Master La Rosa, and realises that the world may not be as small or constricted as she had come to fear.

But 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 may be another way entirely to achieve the transcendence she has always sought.

Title : Nocturne
Author : Alyssa Wees
Format : Physical ARC
Page Count : 240
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : DelRey UK
Release Date : February 21, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Little bird and the beast
The veil between worlds
Darkly delicious

I saw this book being likened to beauty and the beast and phantom of the opera, having read it, I can see these themes but Nocturne is truly its own story. It was a book full of mystery, twists and turns eroded by darkness and fog. I really enjoyed the dark vibe, occasional horrorish vision and twisted tale it evoked.

The main character, Grace was an orphan of sorts, having experienced life of familial tragedy in the 1930s hardships of Chicago. Grace was a ballerina in a struggling dance company. However, this wasn’t only Chicago, there was a foggy veil between two worlds. That otherworldly place was sometimes scary but it became familiar and a place Grace came to want to exist in.

The other main character was the Master, her patron at the dance company. He was a mysterious, unseen character, in a private box at the theatre, spons0ring Grace for an unknown reason. How this story and relationship played out made me trepidatious for Grace but I came to settle into how things evolved. I hated the house and I didn’t trust the Master’s assistant.

Things got pretty messed up through a unique storyline as the two worlds collided and enmeshed. I couldn’t put the second half of the book down. This isn’t a neatly tied up story but there’s a cleverness and authenticity in where this tale ends.

Thank you to DelReyUk for the review copy.


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