I got Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly for Mother’s Day this year from my eldest, after seeing it recommended. I’d previously read Erin Kelly’s He Said/ She Said a few years ago, but haven’t ready any of her books.
Watch Her Fall is the story of Ava Kirilova, prima ballerina, and star of the London Russian Ballet’s daring production of Swan Lake. The dual role of white and black swans, Odette and Odile, would be her defining moment, just as the production would be her father, Nikolai’s, defining moment.
Ava and the 80 dancers in the production have grown up within the confines of the London Russian Ballet. They have no mobile phones, no bank accounts and no freedom to buy their own food. To stay on top, they have to work that bit harder, be that bit more respectful, drop those extra pounds. To the reader, this feels like a toxic and abusive environment, but to Ava and the company, it is the norm.
Watch Her Fall is also the story of Juliet, the dancer who suffers a career ending injury, just as Swan Lake is about to set off on an ambitious world tour. Juliet is left in poverty, forgotten by the London Russian Ballet and with no idea how to survive in the outside world.
The book is divided into sections, each told from the perspective of a key character. At the start or end of each section is a twist, which makes you say ‘Hang on a minute, what just happened?’. It’s one of those books which almost needs re-reading, to see if you can spot the clues you’ve missed leading up to the twist.
Interestingly, I don’t think the blurb on the book gives a very accurate representation of the story. It describes Ava as feeling lonely and paranoid, as a rival is prepared to kill her to get her success, which isn’t really how the story pans out.
I used to pretty much only read thrillers, but I’ve cut right back on my thriller reading lately. Watch Her Fall is a very clever story and reminded me why I’ve always loved them so much.
If you love thrillers, I would definitely recommend Watch Her Fall.