Taglines are powerful little beasts. The cover, the first thing that catches the eye, is beautiful but honestly, I had to take a minute to understand what’s inside that ball (side note: I seriously love this cover I don’t understand, and as I checked Chantal’s books, I can say she has plenty of great covers and amazing titles). But there, on top of it all, there’s this little line. This Christmas Eve, no creature was stirring. Except for a mouse, and a prince with a curse. Bam. I’m all in. Like, all in. Ans there’s a map. You know how I feel about maps, right?
The book is Winterdream by Chantal Gadoury, out yesterday in the Fantasy, folk tales, young adults genre.
This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.
Large, white puffs floated all around me. Sinking into my flesh with their cold, yet light kisses. Every snowflake was different, specially crafted before it fell from the sky. They were beautiful, even as they melted. I tipped my head back to catch the snow as it fell. I felt as though I was floating through air, caught in a haze of ice flakes as sugary and sweet as the icing on the gingerbread house my governess and I had made together.
I stretched my arms out to my sides, spinning in place.
The green forest turned with me, a wood full of large spruces perfect for Christmas trees. They were decorated as such, lighted with white candles and draped in silver tinsel. On some, icicles hung on the tips of the limbs. It was a world in which the snow was like sugar and the air smelled delicious, like freshly baked cookies. It was perfect—a world of my own making, if I was capable of crafting something so… wonderful.
The sound of my name trilled from a distance, carried on the cool, winter wind.
Turning slowly, I peered over my shoulder, catching a glimpse of a young boy my age. He was dressed in a bright red suit, adorned with golden epaulettes. His blond hair was brushed away from his face, revealing two bright blue eyes. His lips, pink as his cheeks, curved into a smile.
“Yes?” I asked curiously, turning to face him. As I slid my hands over my cream and ivory lace nightgown, I suddenly felt quite foolish. My mama had always insisted I never wear my bedclothes in front of guests or visitors. And yet, here, in this strange and beautiful world, such things hardly seemed to matter. He took my hand and flashed another warm smile as he led me to a large, white carriage.
“Where are we going?” I asked softly, pausing before the door. The panels were solid ivory, adorned with a golden handle and step.
“Winter Dream,” the boy said with a relieved expression. “Home. Home to Winter Dream.”
“I’ve come to take you back, Clara. To where I am—to where all the people who love you live.”
“But I don’t know where this Winter Dream is. I’ve never been there…”
“Come with me,” he beckoned, squeezing my hand gently. “Come. . .”
The snow fell all around us; small flakes clung to the tips of our hair and eyelashes. As much as I longed to go . . . there was something holding me back. Something. . .
As I peered behind me, a small, dark shadow began to form. It started out small, like the size of a mouse, and it grew—or was I shrinking? The boy beside me held my hand, and his eyes grew wide with fear.
“No!” I screamed, tucking myself into his shoulder. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to know.
“Clara, wait!” I heard him beg, his urgent tone tugging at my heartstrings. “Come with me, please.”
“No! I want to go home!”
As soon as the words poured from my lips, I woke with a start.
Here, there was only me and the four walls of my bedroom. A sheer sliver of light crept through the space of an open curtain, sparkling with the bright white of the snow outside. It was quiet, as if the world had not yet woken. As if I was the only one no longer dreaming sweet things. Instead, while everyone else slept, I contained the chill of my own strange dream.
I buried myself beneath the duvet and hugged my knees to my chest. I was alone, completely and utterly alone.
I closed my eyes tight, not wishing to face that Christmas morning. I wished only for the chance to slip back into my dream. To return back to that magical world, where a boy with bright blue eyes was waiting for me. Back to the place where an enchanting land called ‘Winter Dream’ existed.
Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing.
Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today.
Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.
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