The Ballet Lover by Barbara L. Baer

Ballet Lover

Author: Barbara L. Baer

Genre: Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback 162 pages

Release Date: 25 September 2017

Publisher: Open Books

My Rating: *

This book was provided to me by Open Books and Book Glow as part of their book reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

The story is told from the point of view of Geneva who is an American journalist with a love of ballet. Set in the early 1970’s, Geneva sits in on a rehearsal between Rudolf and Natalia and observes the obvious tension between the two famous dancers. Geneva interviews Natalia for Icarus, the publication she works for, and begins to see the cracks in the perfect ballerina’s composure.

After the interview, Geneva watches the two dancers as they perform on stage one night and bears witness to catastrophe when Rudolf fails to catch Natalia on stage. To make matters worse, it appears as if he did so on purpose.

Shocked by what Geneva has just witnessed, she writes an article exposing what happened and sends this to her publisher together with pictures. Her publisher refuses to publish the piece and Geneva starts to re-evaluate her career choices.

The plot of this book from the short synopsis given peaked my interest and the start was promising. However, I did find myself becoming disinterested as the book went on. The writing is average, not great, and I found the storyline jumped around a bit more than what I would classify as acceptable. For example, one minute Geneva is in a relationship with the character Albert, and then in the next chapter it is two years down the line and he is living with someone else. There is no connecting plots in my opinion that link the story and this is not the only example. It made the story hard to feel connected to and hard for myself as a reader to feel attached and follow what was happening with the characters.

For anyone who loves and perhaps knows a bit about the background and history behind ballet, this book will likely be an appealing read. At the beginning of each chapter a brief historical description is given on famous ballets and dancers. There is also an interesting plot within the book as Geneva struggles to speak the truth and feels she is hindered by her publisher. I personally found myself more interested with where this plot line might develop to and less interested in the others explored by the author in this book. Unfortunately this was a sub plot and didn’t expand upon very far.

Overall the plot was not engaging enough for me. Whilst it was a good, descriptive read, it was not one where I found myself reading desperate to get to the end to find out what happens. In any event, the ending was so abrupt and out of the blue I found myself wondering whether the copy I was reading had some chapters missing. As a reader I found this most frustrating and my final feelings when closing the book were ones of dissatisfaction and disappointment. This is not a book that will be joining my book shelf unfortunately.

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