The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale is one of my favourite books of the year. When I read it several months ago, it immediately captured my attention.


Delphine returns to the Paris Opera Ballet after having been away for fourteen years. She goes back to choreograph a new dance in the hopes of finally making a name for herself. She also hopes to reconnect with her long-time ballet best friends, Margaux and Lindsay. At the same time, Delphine is grappling with the traumatic memories that drove her to leave Paris and flee to Russia. The three friends are now in their mid-thirties, none of them are happy with the success they have achieved thus far, nor the prospect of their impending retirement from dance. However, things are not the same between the friends, and secrets soon threaten to surface.

Thoughts on The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

The Ballerinas is a character-driven novel told from Delphine’s perspective with dual timelines.

I don’t think the Black Swan comparison is entirely accurate. The majority of this book is not exactly a thriller. It has thriller elements towards the end, but this is more of a deep dive into what it’s like to be a woman in ballet and society’s expectations for women.

This novel explores the trios complex friendship and their darkly competitive nature. These are dynamic characters that I will remember for some time to come.

I will definitely be picking up future books by Rachel Kapelke-Dale.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Now Available.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for an ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinions.

For regular reading updates, see my Goodreads profile.

For past reviews, check out the blog page.

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