G.P. Putnam's Sons | 3 August 2021 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 

Megan Abbott is good at writing complexity relationship in her female characters and in this book she brings her readers into the world of ballet whereby the dynamics of a family is about to change after a stranger break into their once well-constructed ties. 

Dara and Marie Durant are trained as ballet dancers since young. Their mother was once a famous ballet dancer and owned a ballet studio but an automobile accident claimed her and her husband's lives. The ballet studio is then passed on to the sisters; and together with Dara's husband, Charlie, they run the studio with the sisters as trainers and Charlie oversee the administration part. Charlie was once their mother's prized student but he'd stopped dancing after an injury. There are, of course, some challenges operating the studio and with the annual Nutcracker performance coming up, the trio feels the stress as not only do they have to make preparations but they're also a bit tight with the financials, too. When a fire broke out and destroyed part of the studio, they've no choice but to engage a contractor for the renovation. 

Enter Derek, a charming smooth talker who not only coax Charlie into signing some projects agreements but also seems to have Marie captivated. Derek's arrival has not only shaken Dara's equilibrium but also messes up the balance of their routines. Dara feels his hold on Marie has put a strain on their sisterly bond; and most of all she feels he has an agenda. As the story slowly unravel, Derek's pushover leads to the unveiling of some secrets surrounding the Durants' past, forcing them all to face a shocking truth which may crumble their worlds. 

The Turnout is one taut mystery and it consists of some issues which may unnerve the reader at times (like machoism and sexual innuendos). Megan's writing is engaging as always, and what I love most about her books is the sensitivity and the attention she put in when writing about her (female) characters and their emotions. Aside from the family dynamics and Derek's agenda, the ballet world is an interesting read too. There's a Chinese idiom: "Ten years of practice for one minute on stage", which says a lot about these ballet dancers' hard work and the pain they've to face (those pointe technique!) Although this is not my favourite Megan Abbott book, it still makes a riveting read.  
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12 Responses
  1. Iliana Says:

    This sounds quite different from other Megan Abbot books but I do love the way she explores character motivations, etc. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  2. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, it's indeed different from her other books but as always, her characters developments and motivations remain a draw.

  3. Lark Says:

    I do like reading books set in that ballet world!

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - Me too! :)

  5. jenclair Says:

    Sounds like an interesting mystery. The setting in the world of a ballet studio is a fresh touch.

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - It's rare that I come across books with the ballet setting so I really find this one a refreshing read. And all the best it's a suspense. :)

  7. Mystica Says:

    I've not read a book in that setting. I would like that.

  8. This one has my name written all over it. I spend so much time in a dance studio and my daughter is studying ballet and has been in the Nutcracker. I am glad to hear it is good!

  9. Melody Says:

    Mystica - It was a refreshing read. Hope you'll enjoy reading this book if you get to it, Mystica.

  10. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I think you might like this one given the ballet setting, Wendy.

  11. Susan Says:

    I've enjoyed other books by Abbott, so I'm definitely going to read this one at some point. Glad you enjoyed it, even if it's not your favorite by the author.

  12. Melody Says:

    Susan - Abbott is one of my favourite authors so I always anticipate a new book from her. :)

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