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May 25, 2014


Published 8th MAY by Harper Collins

From the prize-winning author of Seating Arrangements comes an exquisitely written, fiercely compelling glimpse into the demanding world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations.

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 prodigy. Inevitably Joan is soon pulled back into the world she thought she’d left behind and back to Arslan.

My review

I wanted to read Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead for two reasons. One I have read and enjoyed Seating Arrangements By Maggie and for the second reason as a young girl I did ballet and tap. My cousin also did ballet and later went on to teach Ballet.
Astonish me is mainly about Joan Joyce who from a young attends ballet classes and is forever dreaming of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Joan who is a young american dancer has a passionate love affair with a Soviet ballet star Arslan Rusakov.
After Joan’s love affair with Arslan Joan leaves the ballet world behind. With Joan also being pregnant she starts a new life for herself with her son Harry and her high school friend Jacob.
For Joan as the years pass with Harry getting a bit older Joan decides she can not live with out ballet.
 This is a gripping and dramatic, story about the nature of talent, the choices we must make in search of fulfilment, and how we can never truly escape from the secret of the past.

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