#BookReview: NOCTURNE by Alyssa Wees @AlyssaWees @DelReyUK

Publication: 21st February 2023 – Del Rey UK

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.



Chicago, 1938. Grace Dragotta, a ballerina of the Near North Ballet, has been chosen for the lead role of the Firebird, a Russian ballet. However, her dream of becoming first ballerina is not what she thought it would be, especially when she attracts the attention of the company’s new patron, Master La Rosa, who attends every single ballet, but remains always a shadow. And when Grace starts to discover the Master’s secrets, she realize that she may finally get what she’s always wanted, but at what cost?

Nocturne is a haunting and enchanting fantasy with fairy tales elements. The protagonist is Grace Dragotta, who is very well-drawn and well-developed. At a very young age she’s already suffered incredible loss, having lost her mother, brother and a close friend. Becoming first ballerina means losing her best friend who is leaving the company to get married. And then Master La Rosa appears and he seems to be able to give her what she wants most.

Nocturne is a beautiful retelling of Beauty and The Beast mixed with the myth of Hades and Persephone. It is a unique, dark, and tragic tale about death and lost souls, about loss and freedom. The story is very well-written with such evocative and beautiful descriptions that kept me completely immersed in the narrative and with an ending that was emotional, unexpected, and perfect all at the same time. I loved every page of it!

A huge thank you to DelRey and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this incredible novel.

Alyssa Wees grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies, in between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside of Chicago with her family.

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