Friday Fives #7 – Five Ballet themed books we still want to read

Posted August 27, 2021 by elzaread in Friday Fives / 15 Comments

Greetings! It’s Friday afternoon and we haven’t done a Friday Fives post in months. Mostly because we just couldn’t think of 5 things we want to talk about. Or wait no, 5 bookish things to talk about. And we’ve been a bit busy too. Still hate it when reality interferes with our bookish lives.

My Mommy finished the most beautiful book this week. It was all about a Russian Princess (who looked just like me) and her family who had to flee Russia in The Great War. You can read our review on The Ice Swan here. The beautiful princess’ stress release and favorite part time hobby, was what prompted our idea for today’s Friday Fives:

Five Ballet themed books we still want to read

My Mommy attends a ballet class twice a week and although she’s not the most gracious dancer and perhaps a bit long in the tooth for it already, it’s an art form she absolutely adores. I wish someone would start a ballet class for cats, then all of us would-be Caterinnas can show off our amazing ballet skills.
Mirko, the Ballet cat

Choosing 5 Ballet themed books, wasn’t quite as easy as a pas-de-chat (that literally means “cat’s step”, because you have to jump like a cat). Not that there aren’t a lot of ballet books out there to discover. That might have been part of the problem, there are too many. But these 5 are the ones we will probaby read:

The last days of the Romanov Dancers by Kerry Turner – Valentina Yershova’s position in the Romanov’s Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks to soloist, utilising not only her talent, but her alliances with influential rich men that grants them her body, but never her heart. When Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, her passion for ballet and love is rekindled, putting at risk everything that she has built.
For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfills a lifelong dream. But in the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is increasingly burdened with guilt about their lavish lifestyles.
While Luka and Valentina’s secret connection grows, the country rockets toward a revolution that will decide the fate of every dancer.
For the Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other…
Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo – Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead – Astonish Me is the irresistible story of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star, the great Arslan Rusakov, defect in 1975. A flash of fame and a passionate love affair follow, but Joan knows that, onstage and off, she is destined to remain in the shadows.
After her relationship with Arslan sours, Joan decides to make a new life for herself. She quits ballet, marries a good man, and settles into the rhythm of Californian life with their son, Harry. But as the years pass, Joan comes to understand that ballet isn’t finished with her yet: for there is no mistaking that Harry is a prodigy. Inevitably Joan is soon pulled back into a world she thought she’d left behind and back to Arslan.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan – 1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.
Peril en Pointe by Helen Lipscombe – Ballet Shoes meets Murder Most Unladylike in this fresh and funny spy story!
Milly yearns to dance like her ballerina mum – but during the biggest performance of her life, she messes up and her mum disappears. Six months on, Milly receives an unexpected invitation to join the Swan House School of Ballet. Thrilled, Milly accepts, only to find that Swan House is no ordinary ballet school: it’s a ballet school for spies. Can her new skills help her discover the truth about her mother’s vanishing act?


As always, we link up with Connect Five hosted by The Book Date Connect Five is really very easy, just pick 5 books that are connected in some or other way. Theme, cover, genre, author – you name it. 



Friendly Fill-Ins

We are having so much fun with the Friendly Fill-Ins. It’s a lovely way to link up with fellow blogger and a few feline friends. Friendly Fill-Ins is hosted by 15 and Meowing and Four-Legged Furballs. They come up with a couple of sentences, and then you have to fill in the blanks. This week’s questions: 


1. I plan to ___________________ these last few days of August.

2. I am a ________________________.
3. _________ is proving difficult these days.
4. Have I ever told you about the time that I _________?
Between me and my Mommy, we’ll mix up the answers again today. You can figure out who answered which!
1. I plan to read an awful lot these last few days of August.
2. I am a very spoiled and self entitled little brat.
3. Having nothing else to do, but reading is proving difficult these days.
4. Have I ever told you about the time that I convinced my Mommy to start a book blog? You can read all about it here
Wishing you all a wonderful, book- and cat-filled weekend!
Lots of Love,



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15 responses to “Friday Fives #7 – Five Ballet themed books we still want to read

  1. I love ballet books and saw a new ones. Here is another one to add to your List:Mao's Last Dancer. A child learns Mao's red book and later comes to America to eventually work on Wallstreet. (A memoir)

  2. Aww, Caterinna is such a charming word (and amazing pics to boot)! Looks like Ice Swan was really all that good as I'd heard. Nowadays ballet always reminds me of the movie Black Swan, so I'm glad the books on your list are of the more uplifting variety.

  3. Oh I love the cat ballet. Great books too. I remember reading Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfield?? or something like that. I liked it a lot. These sound intriguing. Good on you for taking the classes, no doubt very good exercise.

    • Debbie also told me about Ballet Shoes, I will definitely take a look at it.

      Yes! Ballet is the best excercise and always the most fun too.

  4. I am impressed your mom takes ballet classes. I did in high school , but that was over 30 years ago. Thank you both for participating in the fill-ins, great answers. All cats should be spoiled. 🙂 Have a nice weekend. XO

    • I also did a bit of ballet in high school, over 20 years ago! LOL! Started again in my mid thirties and then again beginning of this year, early forties. It really is great fun and good exercise.

      All my kitties are spoiled, but Elza takes the cake for sure.

  5. A ballet class for cats would be awesome! I recently read The Brightest Star in Paris and it's about ballet. It was a great book too.

  6. Those ballet themed books sound good. I'm so glad you convinced your mommy to have a blog. You both do a great job with it. Have a great weekend!

  7. Ah, five ballet-themed books! The Painted Girls would definitely be at the top of my list, with not only ballet, but Paris. And even a mention of the wonderful book by Zola, L'Assommoir.

    You might consider the children's book, Ballet Shoes, by Neil Streatfeild, too.

    • The Painted Girls is the one I will grab first for sure as well!

      I will take a look at Ballet shoes yes. There are a few lovely ballet books in the library as well.

      Have a good weekend Debbie!