If you’ve never read the original E. T. A. Hoffman Nutcracker, no worries. This new take on the original story by Sherri L. Smith is the perfect read this holiday season
Christian Drosselmeyer leads a pretty dreary life. Nuremburg is not exactly special, not by a long shot and with his mother’s recent death by scarlet fever, the last thing he wants to do is stick around. But when he decides to leave behind his old life, his new life sweeps in, arriving in the form of the uncle he never knew, Christian Drosselmeyer. With him comes Samir, the Persian guard and a mysterious tale of a kingdom far away where vermin and sorrows plague the court. Christian Drosselmeyer has come in need of help and it looks like Stefan may be the only one who can give it to him. As the rats begin to stage an uprising against the magical Drosselmeyer’s, the secret they hold, and Nuremburg itself, Stefan must face destiny and life as a nutcracker – a life he may live eternally if he’s too late.
With excellent pacing, beautiful language, and well-timed humor, Smith weaves a magical tale that feels timeless. It’s a perfect Christmas tale, especially if you’ve ever wondered about the truth of the Nutcracker. All your questions can easily be answered in this excellent read aimed for older readers (though parents might really get a kick out of this one as well). I highly recommend The Toymaker’s Apprentice. Give it a whirl; you won’t be disappointed!