Perfect twins. Perfect victims.
Black Swan meets The Red Shoes in this perfectly-poised psychological thriller.
SADLER’S WELLS, London, 1933.
I would kill to dance like her.
“Surely you would like to be immortalised in art, fixed forever in perfection?”
Sisters Olivia and Clara rehearse with Ninette de Valois at the recently opened Sadler’s Wells.
Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match up to identical twin Clara’s charm.
I would kill to be with her.
As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly as if they are being watched. And as infatuation threatens to become obsession, the fragile perfection of their lives starts to unravel.
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invite and the publisher for the extract. Lucy Ashe’s debut, Clara and Olivia is published by Magpie, an imprint of One World Publications (2 February 2023) in ebook, audio and hardback with the paperback following on 7 September. For my turn on the tour, I have a short extract of the prologue to share which I hope gives a taster of the book. 🩰
He wheels her out into the road. He should stay hidden, but part of him wants to be seen: he deserves her. He has waited long enough, worked hard enough. She belongs to him, dressed forever in the same red skirt with the same pink shoes tied around her ankles. Lace and net graze against her motionless thighs. Her skin is smooth porcelain and her lips are pink. Never has there been a lovelier figure, unchanging, unbroken by the pace of time. Her sightless eyes will not fade. A beautiful statue, preserved forever. He has watched her for so long, holding her in his gaze, locking her into position like a photograph.
He imagines dancing with her, the two of them arm in arm under the stars. Silent, of course, but that is no matter. It is better that way. She is a dancing doll, his Coppélia, created at last. He can finally believe it, now that he has her in the wheelchair. Pausing at the end of the street, he reaches down to her wrist and lifts her arm above her as if she is waving to a crowd. Ice-cold. He drops her arm in fright. Life lingers, like a promise; but he is afraid of what will happen when she wakes.
He needs to move quickly.
LUCY ASHE trained at the Royal Ballet School for eight years, first as a Junior Associate and then at White Lodge. She has a diploma in dance teaching with the British Ballet Organisation. She decided to go to university to read English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford (MA Oxon), while continuing to dance and perform. She then took a PGCE teaching qualification and became a teacher. She currently teaches English at Harrow School, an all-boys boarding school in North London. Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary journals and she was shortlisted for the 2020 Impress Prize for New Writers. She also reviews theatre, in particular ballet, writing for the website Playstosee.com.