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.
"Enthralling...irresistible." ––New York Times
"A standing ovation to this debut." ––E! News
Thirteen years ago, Delphine Léger 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 thirty-six 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 a magnetic cast of characters you won't soon forget.
Kapelke-Dale (Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults, with Jessica Pan) makes her fiction debut with a well-crafted thriller. When dancer Delphine returns to Paris after 13 years in Saint Petersburg to choreograph Tsarina for the Paris Opera Ballet, she desperately wants to reconnect with Margaux and Lindsay, her best friends from their ballet academy. Delphine has a secret, something she and Margaux did that ruined Lindsay's life 14 years earlier. Delphine casts soloist Lindsay in Tsarina's title role in an effort to make things right, but no matter how hard Delphine works, Tsarina falls apart. When Lindsay intentionally kicks her understudy in the face during rehearsals, Delphine is forced to fire her. To salvage the ballet, Delphine shifts her focus to Jock, an old flame playing the role of Rasputin. The more time Delphine spends with Jock, the more she realizes she and Margaux aren't the only ones with secrets, and a potential scandal threatens to destroy the Paris Opera Ballet. Kapelke-Dale nicely explores the power of female friendship, a woman's relationship with her body, and what it truly means to be seen. This one's for fans of Megan Abbott's The Turnout.