Thirteen 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 the Palais Garnier Opera House to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career—but she soon realizes that some secrets can't stay buried forever.
... sure to satisfy readers who enjoy stories about the competitive backstage world of professional ballet, as well as anyone interested in probing the complexities of women’s friendships ... Kapelke-Dale, who trained seriously as a ballet dancer, incorporates convincing details about the professional lives of her characters ... Touching on #MeToo, women’s reproductive choices and other timely topics, The Ballerinas is a taut, suspenseful literary novel that will resonate not only with balletomanes but with any readers who enjoy tracing the evolution of characters and relationships over time.
The ways in which women torture their bodies in pursuit of creative dreams make for enthralling fictional drama ... Delphine Léger narrates, and she is a willful, complex creature, at times maddeningly petulant ... For the longest time, despite Delphine’s offhandedly declaring herself a killer on the very first page, I struggled to classify this as a crime novel. But Kapelke-Dale has thought through the larger picture, and examined how trauma and asymmetries of power derail so many dancers.
... a confident, enthralling fiction debut ... If Kapelke-Dale doesn’t make you yearn for a trip to the City of Lights, nothing will. Calling the complicated, sometimes prickly, often fascinating Delphine a heroine might be a stretch ... Betrayals, secrets and jealousies—a lot of jealousies—seep throughout the tightly coiled plot. The slow-boil story builds to an act of violence that is surprising, but expected ... The insular world of ballet has been the background for two stellar mysteries: Megan Abbott’s The Turnout and now The Ballerinas.