Cover Image: Watch Her Fall

Watch Her Fall

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Member Reviews

Prima Ballerina, Ava Kirilova is at the top of her career at the London Russian Ballet Company. She's been training her whole life for the coveted roles of Odette and Odile in Swan Lake. Since the age of 12 her father, the great Nikolai Kirilova has guided and moulded her to become the very best. 

Someone wants what she has and will do almost anything to make it happen.... 

The story moves to the fate of Juliet, a dancer recovering from a career ending fall. How will she survive. The company has looked after her since she was a child and now she is cast aside. Other characters enter at this point which make the story deliciously twisty.  

It's a story of obsession, ambition, control and is truly un-put-downable. I highly recommend it.
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I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and publisher Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review.

I love books about ballet, especially if those books have a dark twist. Watch Her Fall caught my attention almost immediately but I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the blurb. I actually think the blurb is fairly misleading so I will give you a spoiler-free summary of the plot.

Watch Her Fall is the story of Ava, the top ballet dancer at the intensely strict school run by her father. She has a complicated relationship with her dad as he rules the ballet with an iron fist and hates her displaying any kind of creativity. As they begin a production of Swan Lake, Ava becomes increasingly paranoid about her father replacing her with another dancer. When that dancer becomes injured however, she realises she is ill-equipped for the real world and begins to plot how to take over Ava's life.

This is not a thriller about someone being messed with by a mysterious figure, at least not past the 20% mark. What this is is a thriller driven by characters and a plot which goes in a very different direction than you would expect it to. I wouldn't say I was ever surprised by this book which some people might see as a negative, but I was genuinely enthralled and the lack of twists didn't stop me enjoying the story one bit.

The main negative of this book is that it does a lot of 'flashback' narrative. That is, an event will happen and then it will switch POV to another character and take us back in time for a bit to see the events leading up to the thing we just read about. Sometimes this is welcome, sometimes I was uninterested. It definitely slowed the pace down which isn't a positive in a thriller. Still, I did appreciate the depth we got to know the characters to and it does build a really complete and complex story. I can see how it might build suspense for some readers if you don't think the surprises are obvious.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Kelly is clearly very talented at crafting thrillers with a unique setting and interesting characters. Having read/experienced a fair amount of 'dark ballet' media, I was pleased to see this book had new things to offer still. I think this book is definitely worth a read if you're looking for a compelling thriller, and I am eager to try Kelly's other work now I've seen her writing skills.

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
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Oh my!  This is the first time I have read a book by Erin Kelly but it certainly won´t be the last!!

This book is outstanding!  It´s so clever, intricate and absorbing, I couldn´t put it down.  You are drawn into the world of ballet and the sacrifices made by the dancers, dreams fulfilled and dreams dashed, cut short by ill fated events.  Full of twists and surprises, you certainly don´t imagine the ending until right at the last minute.


My thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy.
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Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I love love love Erin Kelly, having enjoyed every single one of her previous books. I was a bit unsure how I would feel about this one, as I know absolutely nothing about the world of ballet but I can honestly say I enjoyed this just as much as her previous books. It was a complex clever book, full of twists and turns, and I was completely immersed in the story and gripped from the very start. I can just imagine this book on the big screen and I would highly recommend it, and all of her previous books too.
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Unfortunately this book felt a bit flat for me. I was very intrigued by the plot, and I did enjoy the writing style. 
However, I found that it was a very slow read for me, and I just wasn't as hooked as I hoped I would be.
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'Watch Her Fall' is an absolute triumph. Set in the cut-throat world of professional ballet, where dancers are graceful on the stage but behind the scenes, they are brutally ambitious. 

Erin Kelly's prose is as beautiful as one of the ballet dancers she is writing about. The tempo mirrors the action perfectly with the narrative weaving between several well-drawn characters seamlessly. The imagery is beautiful with strong descriptions of settings, characters and action. 

As always, Erin Kelly delivers a stinking good read.
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I've read lots of books by this author but found this one rather difficult to read. Sadly, I gave up after completing about a third of it. There was too much emphasis for me on ballet and I felt the story was quite slow to develop. It promised much in terms of the build up of tension but didn't seem to progress quickly enough for me.
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I'm a big fan of Erin Kelly so this was a book (her eighth I believe) which I was looking forward to.
It's fabulously twisty and turns and hugely enjoyable. I don't like as a rule to give away much of the plot suffice to say it's set against the glamorous backdrop of ballet and is DEFINITELY worth your time. Highly recommend!!
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I was inspired to read this book after hearing Erin Kelly talking passionately about it on Woman’s Hour- and was fortunate enough to be sent a copy by the publisher for review. As the author said, there are very few adult novels about the world of ballet and this story is a gripping exploration of a closed world with people on the ‘edge of sanity’ – setting the scene perfectly for a psychological thriller. 

There are so many stories and back stories within this novel, it can feel confusing at times, but that gives almost the sensation of dizziness from too many pirouettes- what is the truth? Who is right/wrong? Black swan/white swan? Good/evil? At times it is hard to tell. The reader is dragged in and complicit in the intrigues. 

A fascinating and thought provoking book which challenges the psychological thriller genre in a unique and authentic feeling way.

Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for my review copy.
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Swan Lake is divided into the black acts and the white acts. The Prince is on stage for most of the ballet, but it's the swans audiences flock to see. In early productions, Odette and Odile were performed by two different dancers. These days, it is usual for the same dancer to play both roles. Because of the faultless ballet technique required to master the steps, and the emotional range needed to perform both the virginal Odette and the dark, seductive Odile, this challenging dual role is one of the most coveted in all ballet. Dancers would kill for the part.
Ava Kirilova has reached the very top of her profession. After years and years of hard graft, pain and sacrifice as part of the London Russian Ballet Company, allowing nothing else to distract her, she is finally the poster girl for Swan Lake. Even Mr K - her father, and the intense, terrifying director of the company - can find no fault. Ava has pushed herself ahead of countless other talented, hardworking girls, and they are all watching her now.
But there is someone who really wants to see Ava fall . . .


Erin Kelly has history as the queen on psychological thrillers.  Her reign continues with Watch Her Fall - a dark, disturbing tale of love, ambition and jealousy set  against the theatrical preparations for Swan Lake. 

The torrid tale follows the themes of Swan Lake - the father daughter relationship between Ava and Nikolai and their doomed love, the Black and White Swan - the development of Ava and Juliette, the themes of good and evil,  the ambition and evil and love and magic,  the only way to become a woman is to escape the ballet, the names Odette meaning wealth and Odile meaning fortunate in battle are played out in the book. 
The appalling treatment of the dancers by Nikoliai, and his relationship with Ava are clearly defined.  He calls the dancers his “creatures”, Ava is consumed with ambition but her fathers handling of the dancers only results in her insecurity and paranoia.  From this the jealousy and resentment can only feed the rotten atmosphere within the London Russian Ballet. 

The building itself is reminiscent of communist regime that Nikolai has escaped but uses to imprison his dancers.  Part of the building is called the Gulag - reminiscent of sociat labour camps.  This only highlights the physical demands made on the dancers, the physical torture, pain and control that Nikolia exerts over them. 

The plot is possibly the most complicated written by Erin Kelly to date, and one that she has admitted may not translate to the screen.  It is one that will hold your attention.  Whilst the ballet is the setting for the characterisation, the plot develops in a ukranian criminal underworld.  The Ballet v the ukranian underworld - which is worst?? 

The tale is multi layered, defly plotted with twist upon twist.  It is intoxicating, poisonous and ultimately deadly. The novels  themes are intertwined and entangled with Swan Lake and perhaps a little reminiscent of Black Swan, that leaves you feeling shell shocked and Erin Kelly leaves you feeling that the battle between the Black and White Swan will only continue.  

#WatchHerFall #NetGalley
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Love Erin Kelly's writing 
Absorbed from the beginning
Felt I was reading a story within a story within another story 
With no idea where it was going to take me 

Highly recommend

Thank you netgalley, Erin Kelly and Hodder and Stoughton.
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Ava Kirilova has finally reached the top of her game. She's going to be dancing both Odile and Odette in the London Russian Ballet Company's Swan Lake. Her exacting father, Mr. K, is a tough taskmaster and Ava has done everything to please him and deserves the role. The whole company is watching her rise, but someone is also hoping she will fall

4⭐- I love ballet and although I really enjoyed the description and detail of that world, you don't have to be into it to like this book! It's a twisty story which has its root in ballet, but ultimately it's a thriller with as many turns as is danced in Swan Lake and many
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I absolutely love Erin Kelly and have read every book so I was so excited when I was approved by NetGalley to read this one in advance. 
This thriller had a very unusual theme all about the intricacies of a life inside a theatre as a ballet dancer but I loved every page.
Ava Kirilova is the daughter of the famous Russian Nicky Kirilova who owns the theatre in London. Ava has the starring role in the new six month tour of the ballet Swan Lake. Mr Kirilova is a hard man to please. He expects perfection and everyone is desperate for his approval. This leads to a very competitive and uneasy working environment. Mr Kirilova is a hard man to love and even talks of replacing Ava on stage if she isn't perfect. One girl in particular is very keen to upstage Ava and take on the lead role. 
As with all of Erin Kelly's novels I loved the build up of tension through the book with all the twists and turns. I really wasn't sure how it would end! I loved reading from the different perspectives of the main characters and seeing all the separate storylines come together in a very satisfying conclusion. Another brilliant book by this fab author.
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for this ARC.
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Thanks to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and Erin Kelly for the ARC copy of Watch Her Fall.

I loved the blurb for Watch Her Fall.- the thought of being so desperate for the lead part of Swan Lake that you might be willing to kill for it... I expected a dark and twisty thriller and that wasn't quite what I got. Instead, this was an intense read behind the scenes of a ballet school and quite a dark story of deceit, double crossing and identity. 

I have to be honest in that I struggled a little at times to keep up with the switching between characters and time frames and lost my way a little. That said, I felt the characters were built up really well, so much so that I felt I could really picture them in my mind as I read and relate and sympathise with their plights. It is an intense read, and I am sure that the book is pretty accurate in terms of the harsh pressurised environments behind the scenes. 

Whilst I enjoyed the drama and the reveal of the story and of course the similarities to the ballet itself; it lacked some of the fast paced action that I normally look for in a thriller. You'll need to concentrate for this one, but an enjoyable read none the less.
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Having read and loved "He said, she said", I eagerly anticipated receiving this new book and I was not disappointed.  As I took my seat in the middle of the theatre (metaphorically speaking obviously) and waited for the curtain to rise, each page took me further into the workings and mindsets of the ballet school backstage and the emotional interlacing of the different characters... Swan Lake is a beautiful ballet full of angst and emotional duplicity, and this book evoked the same anxieties and eagerness.  I honestly did not want to find the final page, and yet I devoured the words until I reached it...  I love how the book is broken down into acts; the different interpretations and the fantastic twists and turns...  
A story that everyone believes they can recount, but at the end of this book, you can feel it in the pit of your tummy and in the raising of your shoulders as you breathe and realise the curtain has fallen and you have to leave your seat.
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Set in the backdrop of the ballet world, this is a slow burner that gathers pace. The world of ballet is always portrayed as dancers who have to eat little, train hard and endure pain and this tale is no exception. In a world where the best are envied, sought after and perhaps wished to fail this story follows a company where the owner is strict, a bully and cuts no one any slack, not even his daughter. Swan Lake portrays good and evil and this is replicated in the story.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Erin Kelly/Hodder & Stoughton for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
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I will be outright honest and say I had a problem with this book, the problem being I could not put it down! It is so utterly compelling, with a dark, creeping atmosphere that surrounds you and binds you so you can't move and have no choice but to surrender and keep reading. I loved the way it was written in acts, to relate to the ballet. I have no doubt this will sit in my top 5 books this year. 

I feel this book will draw comparisons to Black Swan, the darkness is the same but the story is not. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this outstanding psychological thriller.
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With a tagline like ‘Killing Eve meets Swan Lake’ expectations for this book are bound to be high but Erin Kelly does it and more. I have read a couple of her thrillers before and knew that she would artfully wind together different threads of story so just as you think you have a grasp of what happened you end up back where you began. 
Personally, I love ‘Black Swan’ because the film plays so much upto the themes of power, jealousy and duty; all themes that are so integral to the original ballet and Kelly pulls out every dark theme to maximum effect. 
Ava Kirilova is at the top of the London Russian Ballet Company and all the years of sacrifice, unrelenting practice and duty will culminate in her dancing Odette and Odile; the white and black swans. One is loyal to family and pure the other is vengeful and dark. To dance the two characters are the pinnacle of success for any of the ballerinas at the company and they are all watching Ava very carefully but for some dancers watching just isn’t enough…
This book brilliantly plays on the knife edge between ambition and ruthlessness and will keep you hooked from beginning to end. An excellently crafted, layered and twisted tale.
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In Watch Her Fall,  Erin Kelly’s latest novel, we escape into the world of Ballet, as we meet the London Russian Ballet Theatre and more specifically a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake by Nikolai Kirilov. 

Nicky has been waiting a long time for his daughter, Ava Kirilova to grow into this role and as she takes on this lifetime calling and  dances as both the black and white swan, becoming the best that she can be, her Papa grows more critical, expecting more from her, leaving  Ava feeling  that she is no longer his favourite.

I loved Watch Her Fall and from the beginning of the book I was swept up into the magical Ballet world and the excitement of this production of Swan Lake. From the intricate steps of the dance to the description of the Swan’s costumes, it was obvious that Erin Kelly had done much research into the world of Ballet, and the acknowledgements at the end of Watch Her Fall confirmed this.

I love how Erin Kelly weaved Ballet in and out of  Watch Her Fall and would happily read this five-star novel again.
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