book cover of The Dance of the Dolls
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The Dance of the Dolls

(Clara & Olivia)
A novel by

2024 CWA Historical Dagger (shortlist)

Caroline Kepnes’s You meets Black Swan in this psychological thriller about obsessive love featuring two ballet dancers—identical twin sisters Olivia and Clara Marionetta—with a terrifying climax set in the world of ballet in pre-war London. Fans of historical fiction books with strong female characters and suspense-driven thrillers will be enthralled!
“[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.


Genre: Historical Mystery

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