Watch Her Rise
After years of blood, swear and tears, Ava finally has the ballet world at her feet. But away from the spotlight, whipers backstage make her lonely and paranoid.
Watch Her Fall
Because someone is watching her from the wings. Someone who wants what she has. Wants it so badly that two people will pay with their lives.
I’ve been a fan of Erin Kelly’s work since reading The Poison Tree some years ago, more recently I enjoyed She Said, He Said, needless to say I was keen to read her latest work of fiction, Watch Her Fall after hearing about it at a Hodder Showcase event online.
In truth despite being a fan of the author I was a little unsure about a novel set in the world of ballet, I know nothing about ballet and wasn’t sure this would be a context of interest to me. All I can say is don’t be foolish like me, don’t let something like this put you off!
The book is told from several perspectives; told over several acts. Beginning with Ava – the beautiful and talented principal ballerina, she is coming to the end of her dancing career, but rehearsing now for the lead in Swan Lake the world is at her feet. Admired by all, the daughter of ballet master and company founder and owner Nikolai Kirilov, her position feels tenable, she suspects others of jealousy and gossip and fights moments of paranoia. The story progresses through rehearsals and we meet ‘second swan’ Juliet who sustains a career ending injury taking her out of production and out of the ballet company. Living a strange existence in Ava’s home whilst she tours with the ballet, in plush surrounding but impoverished and struggling to make ends meet.
Enter Max, security on the plush estate where Ava’s house is and whose path crosses with the ‘injured swan’.
This is a clever story, Erin Kelly comments in the foreword that this book contains the most ambitious twist she has ever written and this plays out well. A twisty psychological thriller, playing on the single minded focus and ambition of ballerinas who have given up everything for the chance to achieve their dream. The cut throat world of ballet offers a brilliant stage for this drama, which sees children brought into the ballet school, leaving their family and friends to single mindedly pursue that dream, a dream that can be shattered in a second through injury.
It is a book about what someone will do for that dream, but also about what someone will do to survive, with themes of blackmail and corruption, plus trauma and loss this was an excellent read that not only entertained, but for me was thought provoking in terms of what it takes to be at the very top, the sacrifices and the losses to get there.
Reading this whilst the 2020 Tokyo Olympics shows on TV made me think about all these incredible athletes who work so hard and give up so much, for a moment in time of success and the resilience required to endure.
Highly recommended by me and available to buy now.
About the Author
Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind, He Said/She Said, We Know You Know and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2011. He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the top ten in both hardback and paperback, was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar crime novel of the year award, and selected for both the Simon Mayo Radio 2 and Richard and Judy Book Clubs. She has worked as a freelance journalist since 1998 and written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Red, Elle and Cosmopolitan. She has also created a writing course on psychological thrillers for Curtis Brown Creative. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters.