Book Review: The Ballerinas by Rachael Kapelke-Dale


Title: The Ballerinas

By: Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 304

Release Date: December 7th, 2021

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary from Goodreads:

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away...and some secrets can't stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio's adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won't see coming, with magnetic characters you won't soon forget.


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A gracefully painted tale of blackmail and back stabbing.

As a former ballerina myself, its hard for me to think this kind of behavior exists. Every tale told about premier ballet companies seems to follow this exact format of blood thirsty dancers out to destroy the prima ballerina for their spot. I happen to know, that ballerina's can be friends. It does make for a good story though. 

The author has a wonderful way of telling a tale with ease and depth that makes reading the book effortless. Kinda like a ballet in itself. And not all male dancers are out to sleep with all the girls in the company, although in this book, it seems they do. 

I loved reading this dark painted ballet. It brought me back to the stage and the feelings of dancing, but also weaves a desperate tale of passion and the need to shine. Worth the read.

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