‘Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker’ By Gregory Maguire

Despite the holiday season having past, this novel will have you already booking your ticket to see Marius Petipa and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale ballet, “The Nutcracker.”

Hiddensee is a retelling, in a sense, of the ballet. It imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker before he is to wage a battle against the evil Mouse King. The fantasy novel focuses on the story of the Nutcracker carver, Herr Dirk Drosselmeier. Dirk is an ominous, canny, one-eyed young man who is forced time and time again to ponder a profound question: How can a person who is abused by life, shortchanged and challenged, nevertheless access secrets that benefit the disadvantaged and powerless?

The author of this book is best known for his work, “Wicked,” and while it will likely stay that way, this novel has the potential to rise in the ranks. Maguire is an extremely well-written author and his stories are often filled with prose and poetic language, with Hiddensee being no exception. If you are looking to gain a new appreciation for the Nutcracker, this is the book for you. Available at major booksellers.

‘In a Holidaze’ By Christina Lauren

Maelyn Jones is stuck in a time loop. What is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year just isn’t for Mae this year: she lives at home with her parents, hates her job, and has found herself in what feels like the worst possible place in her romantic life. In addition to all this, Mae discovers that her favorite place in the world, a snowy Utah cabin, is being sold. Desperate, she asks the universe for help.

In a nod to the “Groundhog Day (1993)” movie, the main character of this romance novel discovers she is unable to leave the week of Christmas. Readers will quickly find themselves rooting for Mae and hoping that she can become a bolder, more authentic version of herself. It may even have readers reflecting on their own lives as Mae learns that happiness comes from speaking up for yourself and demanding the best out of life.

This book is perfect for those secret romantics, those who believe in second chances, and for people who just simply love a novel set in the winter. Available at major booksellers.