A quick-read retelling of E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King".
Clara is eleven when she first meets the Nutcracker. With her youthful imagination, she sees beyond the doll and finds the soul within. Enchanted by him, she's distressed when he disappears Christmas morning. But then he appears next Christmas, and the next. What she once assumed was a child's fancy is revealed to be genuine magic. As the wicked Mouse King threatens both her family and her dear Nutcracker, she must find a way to break a centuries-long curse.