Under Winter Lights
Ms. Lewandowski begins the tale of Martina, a young ballerina in Chicago who discovers herself the unexpected star of one of the best-known ballets in the world. Martina struggles with balancing the pressures of her new position, her dwindling finances, and the strange attention of the director of the Bellus theatre. Add to the mix: learning to dance opposite a new partner who is as talented as he is mysterious.
Sara’s Rating: 4/5 About the Reviewer
The passion and grace of ballet–and dance in general–have always intrigued me and I really looked forward to learning more about the world through Martina’s eyes. Ms. Lewandowski did not disappoint. I loved the details of Chicago; though I’ve never been, I felt as if I knew the place well. The Nutcracker is a ballet that I’ve seen four times, each with a different company, and getting a peek behind-the-scenes was such a treat.
I did struggle a bit with how Martina handled Alan’s harassment and advances. Though I found her inertia very accurate, I disliked her reliance on Maraav to rescue her and fix the situation. Being a woman trying to advance in any field is incredibly hard, and dealing with harassment is a horrible side to that coin. I enjoyed the respectful and tender steps of the budding romance between Martina and Maraav, echoing the innocence and wonder of the holiday spirit of both The Nutcracker and the winter season.
This is a delightful, cozy read and you can feel everything from the excitement of production to the bitter Chicago wind. I might splurge and order in a paperback box set! Looking forward to the next installment.
About the Reviewer
Sara Voorhis is an avid adult / YA fiction and memoir reader. She loves character-driven work that is both honest and poignant. Works featuring marginalized folk of all sorts are her particular favorites, especially if they’re #OwnVoices. If it makes her cry, it’s a sure winner!