The Dance of the Dolls
By Lucy Ashe (Author)
Format Hardcover, Jacketed
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The Dance of the Dolls
by Lucy Ashe
“[As a] former ballerina, Ashe’s insights into the world of professional dance elevate this unsettling debut thriller about identical twin sisters and the toxic male attention they attract.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
The Dance of the Dolls tells the story of identical twin ballerinas rehearsing for the ballet Coppélia at the recently opened Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. Superficially, even their differences are complementary: Olivia aspires to be the perfect ballerina while Clara is rebellious and independent. Clara has been seeing a pianist at the theater, the passionate Nathan, while Olivia is unaware that she’s cast a spell on Samuel, a bashful apprentice ballet shoemaker who steals into Sadler’s Wells as often as he can to watch her dance. But as the sisters rehearse, danger lurks. The story of Coppélia—about a young man who becomes obsessed with a life-size doll—threatens to become a dark and sinister reality. Samuel dreams of being recognized by Olivia and wonders how far he’d go to achieve his goal, while Nathan, a musical child prodigy, struggles to adapt to adulthood and begins to blur the lines between reality and his dark fantasy world . . .
Ashe has penned one of the most unputdownable books of 2023, perfect for anyone who found themselves captivated by the suspense-driven series and films Dare Me, Black Swan, and Luckiest Girl Alive. The Dance of the Dolls mesmerizes and will fulfill your sister books wish list and penchant for psychological suspense thrillers such as If We Were Villains, by M. L. Rio.
PRAISE“Ashe’s persuasive behind-the-scenes ballet sections lend heft and authenticity to what could otherwise be mere window dressing, and she transitions her narrative from charming slice of historical fiction to pulse-pounding suspense at an expert pace. It’s a fiercely memorable debut from a writer to watch.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Historical-novel fans as well as those who enjoy a bit of gothic intrigue will appreciate this story." —Booklist
"Based on the real ballet scene in prewar London, this immersive tale will be a delight for historical-fiction fans who like a touch of suspense."—Library Journal
“Ashe trained with the Royal Ballet School, and she is fascinating on the detail of the girls’ lives; on the pain and the bloodied feet that underpin the perfection of the dance, on, as Samuel says, ‘this mad life you all live, always on the edge of pain and exhaustion.’ A wonderful, eye-opening debut.”—London Times
“Dances with historical details, with unease and atmosphere. You can feel the mist of the London canals, hear the ballet shoes touching the stage.”—Abigail Dean, bestselling author of Girl A
“Haunting and richly evocative, The Dance of the Dolls takes the reader on a spellbinding journey through the 1930s London ballet scene, in which the beauty and elegance of the participants is the flip side of a destructive drive for perfection and darkly murderous obsessions. Lucy Ashe’s debut is absolutely en pointe.—Lexie Elliott, author of The French Girl
“A clever thriller . . . the characters are compelling. Take a bow, Ms. Ashe.”—Historical Novel Review
“[An] unsettling tale. . . . As the story follows the rehearsals for the ballet Coppélia, we receive a quick-fire education on how the ballet works and why it inspires obsession. . . . An original thriller with a crafty plot.—Daily Mail
“This original and exquisitely written novel is a highly accomplished debut.”—Plays to See
“The ballet world sets the stage for this terrifying psychological thriller that takes place in pre-war London.” —Entertainment Weekly
“[T]his novel promises a chilling and captivating story.” —NBC Champaign, IL (WCIA) -
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Lucy Ashe is an English teacher. After training at the Royal Ballet School, she decided to change career plans and go to university. She studied English literature at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, before receiving her teaching qualification. Ashe's poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary journals, and she was shortlisted for the 2020 Impress Prize for New Writers. She lives in New York City.