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Summary

"What I most enjoyed was Potter’s narration. Her British accent adds even more sophistication to this creepy, insular ballet world." (Marshall Heyman, Vulture)

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 kick-start 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, Rachel Kapelke-Dale's 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.

©2021 Rachel Kapelke-Dale (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

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Profile Image for Leslie G.
  • Leslie G.
  • 18-12-21

Kill the editor!

I love ballet and there is so much to admire about this book but I cannot believe an editor who would allow a story to go back and forth between years and make it so difficult to follow chronologically. It just didn’t make sense to present it that way.
I have listened to over 500 books in the last two years and have written very very few reviews but my opinion about how the story was presented was so strong in this case that I felt I had to say something.
Otherwise there is so much about the story that is enjoyable.

6 people found this helpful

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  • jh1234
  • 14-12-21

Beautifully Written and Performed

One of the best novels I've read in ages. It's complex with characters who feel very real and in whose lives I felt invested. I agree with other reviews I've come across elsewhere--this isn't really a thriller or a mystery, though I've seen it advertised as both. There are mysterious elements, but it's literary fiction at its core. That said, it's *unsettling* literary fiction set in the fairly *terrifying* world of professional ballet with a *criminal* subplot element.

Perhaps this is one of those books that defies neat categorization, but please don't let that stop you! It's so well written, and the performance is stellar! You won't regret it. :)

3 people found this helpful

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  • P. Parker
  • 28-12-21

An incredible story!

I wasn't sure if I was going to keep listening to this when all the f-bombs became regular in the dialogue, and when the sex scenes began, but those were few and significant to the overall story. So I kept listening. It is definitely a story of unconditional love between lifelong girlfriends even during their years of separation.

It is well-written with wonderful descriptive language that doesn't include f-bombs! Ha ha!! I can't imagine living the life of a struggling ballerina. And it really angers me that it could possibly be such a cutthroat profession. Although this book is fiction, I wonder how much of it isn't!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Liv
  • 04-05-22

Great read

I picked it up because of the ballet but stayed for the story. Took a while to get into but once I did the story was great. Plot twist at the end I wasn’t expecting.

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  • Victoria Q.
  • 23-04-22

Time Switches Very Difficult To Follow.

Great story, well narrated (if not a tad monotonally), but the time travel back and forth between several (minimum 3) periods in the past to the present (several time periods here too) made following the plot extremely difficult. It is not enough to just give a month and a year. Seriously. I will finish this, but will continue asking "Wait, how old are we now? Is it 2004? 2018? 1995? When was that ballet created? Wait...what? When?" SO frustrating. That said, the last quarter of this novel is absolutely worth slogging through the first three. Super twisty! Oooh, sure didn't see that coming kind of thing.

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  • Erica Gill
  • 17-04-22

Long but a legendary story of and for women!

I loved this story. It is deep. It is intense at times. There are some themes that are triggering and/or just difficult. But well worth the listen!!!! Profound insights into being a woman!

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  • kyle
  • 05-03-22

too long

The first 7 hours were hard to get through. Too many flashbacks and a confusing storyline. The last 4 hours were really good.

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  • melissac1120
  • 13-02-22

Exceeded my expectations

FABULOUS story and narration. A wonderful story of women, friendship and becoming your own person.

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  • Crystal Lowe
  • 05-02-22

Narrator did a great job, story ends flat for me

I was really enjoying the story until the end. It just didn't quite feel right how it ended to me.