Monday, April 14, 2014

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

A couple years ago, I reviewed Maggie Shipstead's debut novel, Seating Arrangments for this blog, and so I was very excited to read her second novel, Astonish Me as soon as it came out last week.  In this novel, readers are treated to a glimpse into the world of professional ballet.

The novel opens in 1977; Joan has helped her then lover, the famous Arslan Ruskov to defect from the USSR several years earlier.  Joan's own ballet career has never really taken off, and when she finds herself pregnant, she leaves ballet behind and settles down with her childhood best friend, Jacob.  As her son, Harry grows, he too begins dancing, bringing Joan back into the world she thought she'd left behind.

The novel spans several decades, and readers are reintroduced to these characters as they grow and change through the years.  Flashbacks are interspersed throughout, bringing new details to light, and while some of the plot twists were less-than-surprising, the ending does unexpectedly bring everything together in a satisfying way.

Astonish Me is on order, so put your holds in today for this perfect beach read!

And if you enjoy this, definitely check out Seating Arrangements, along with the novels of Liane Moriarty (What Alice Forgot and The Husband's Secret have both been reviewed by other vbplrecommends bloggers) and Jojo Moyes (Lennis reviewed Me Before You last summer).

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