In this haunting, evocative 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.
“An utterly unique, lyrical play on the Persephone and Hades myth for fans of Neil Gaiman or Madeline Miller.”—Booklist (starred review)
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.
About the Author
Alyssa Wees is the acclaimed author of The Waking Forest. She grew up writing stories about her Beanie Babies in between ballet lessons. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.
“An enchanting and lyrical fever dream bursting with dazzling prose and dark romance, Nocturne enthralled me.”—Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows
“Richly imagined and heartbreakingly told, Nocturne is a lush gothic romance that will dance you dizzy.”—Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author of For the Wolf
“No one writes the way Alyssa Wees does, and Nocturne is her latest masterpiece. Like the ballet pulsing at its core, the story is both sinuous and quick on its feet, leading the reader through a labyrinth of emotions that range from the brightest passion to the darkest grief. A powerful, haunting read.”—Joan He, New York Times bestselling author of Strike the Zither
“A beautiful nightmare and a fairy tale all at once . . . Wees’s lyrical prose swept me away in this unique story about the battle between love and despair. Nocturne is not to be missed.”—Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Crown’s Game
“In Nocturne, Wees robes the classic story of Beauty and the Beast in lush prose and infinite splendor. It’s a fever dream of a novel, surreal and intricate, and enchanting in every way.”—Ava Reid, author of The Wolf and the Woodsman
“Haunting and immersive—like a dream poured onto a page . . . Alyssa Wees has deftly spun a dark tale of romance, betrayal, and destiny. Nocturne kept me in its sinister grip from the first page to the last.”—Heather Walter, author of Malice
“Darkly beautiful and threaded through with an undercurrent of magic and madness, Nocturne is a captivating tale replete with layers of illusion, where true enchantment hides beneath the manufactured witchery and gossamer splendor of the ballet.”—Leife Shallcross, author of The Beast’s Heart
“Nocturne reads like a fable, a mythical tale full of magical power, but imbued with the very real and wonderfully graceful power of ballet. Its heroine is a prima ballerina for whom nothing—life, death, love—is as important as the dance. You will be enchanted!” —Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
“Absolutely captivating, Nocturne is a delicious and radiant treat of a novel. Prepare to be spellbound!”—Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of The Queens of Renthia