Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Dancing on Thorns by Rebecca Horsfall

Jean-Baptiste St Michel, known simply as Michel (thank goodness) was tempted away from England and his mother by his famous choreographer father to learn ballet in Paris.  Abandoned by his absent father and disillusioned in his dancing abilities,  Michel is plucked from obscurity by ballerina Nadia Petrovna to become an apprentice in the small but striving Islington Ballet.  Director Charles Crown is less impressed, but Michel's determination and persistence pay off as he becomes a formidable talent.
Jonni is an aspiring actress new to London who becomes entangled in the exciting and close knit group that revolve around Michel's flat.  Despite their immediate attraction, Michel's only true commitment is to dance and their relationship falters as Jonni wants more than Michel is able to give.

So did I mention that I'm on a ballet obsession at the moment? (oh, sorry, I must have!) and it's still going strong, much to Amazon's delight and pain to my credit card!!
There's actually far more to this book than I can give in a brief synopsis; there's 730 pages and never a dull moment!  It's a theatrical, passionate saga with a huge range of varied characters and sub-plots and I don't want to give anything away.  I loved Michel, despite him being a self-obsessed egotist for much of the book, he's perfect! (and yes, I do love my flawed heroes, I know!) Primo is fabulous, Jonni is mildly irritating and wet and I adored the behind the scenes details and the creation of new ballets.
Just in case I'm not enthusing enough, even though it's not completely perfect, I lurved this book!  It's totally indulgent, Jilly Cooper-esque in both size and sweeping breadth, but who cares?!  It did what these huge chunksters are supposed to do, whisked me off to another life and I couldn't put it down! Unlucky for me that I chose to start it during the first week back at work after Christmas hols, as it meant I stayed up extra late as I was desperate to see how it all ended!  Brilliant!