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Reviews & Quotes

Dancing on Thorns

The blockbuster for the summer suitcases: 736 unputdownable pages of pure delight centred on the world of ballet with, interestingly, the man the obsessive dancer. This presses all the right buttons for a great read: romantic, exciting, tragic, suspenseful and compulsive — you can't fault it.

— The Bookseller

Rebecca Horsfall has created an epic romance of deeply moving proportions. She's written a book as beautiful as a ballet, where words serve as the intricate steps of the dance. Welcome to the world of the ballet, where you feel each wince of pain and each note of passionate music. Welcome to a world ignited by the fiery passion of youth, where dreams are but the impossible made into tangible reality for those who dare. Every character manages to touch the emotional heartstrings. Deeply moving, this story is like a back stage pass to one of life's greatest dances. Full of passion, depth, trials and tribulations, DANCING ON THORNS is destined to be a timeless classic. This story is one simply not to be missed, one you can return to time and time again.

— Anne Barringer, FreshFiction.com

The portrayal of the relationship between Michel and his ballet friends is superb, and the depiction of the pain and beauty of the ballet world gripping.

— Library Journal

A grand, ambitious debut, set in the elegantly volatile world of professional ballet.
[…] This big, rich, romantic saga, peopled with a full cast of appealing characters, and their complex, compelling stories, are allowed to develop over the course of several years. Comparisons to Barbara Taylor Bradford and Maeve Binchy are easy, but Horsfall has her own style and her own sensibility. Although she gives her audience plenty of sentimentality and spectacle, she writes with a cool, dry – occasionally wry – voice that's the perfect complement to her combustible subjects. The narrative sparkles with love and lust and intrigue and betrayals and breakdowns, but the drama never seems contrived; instead, it's just a natural by-product of ballet, the inevitable outpouring of devoted young artists working and living together in a rarefied, insulated and high-pressure world. Horsfall is also able to relate a great deal of information about dance without ever becoming didactic, which makes her book as edifying as it is entertaining. A sophisticated, satisfying treat.

— Kirkus Reviews

The sex scenes are so sultry, you may need to take a cold shower after finishing this passion-filled page-turner.

— Cosmopolitan

Horsfall's elaborately wrought, mammoth debut delineates the rise to fame of a gifted young dancer with an exalted lineage and his troubled love affair with a similarly ambitious actress. […] In this stately pas de deux of a novel, Horsfall patiently, fluently takes on the larger-than-life personalities that inhabit the lofty realm of the dance world.

— Publisher's Weekly

Horsfall takes readers behind the scenes of the ballet world in this sumptuous tale of love and ambition, sacrifice and redemption. […] Horsfall's first novel is an ambitious and accomplished tour de force, and, at 800 pages, truly epic in scope. Lusciously evocative, sensuously atmospheric, it ineluctably pulls the reader into an ethereal yet brutal world of fiery passions and unrequited desires.

— Booklist

THE NEW JILLY COOPER. At last, a bonkbuster with well-written sex. Rebecca Horsfall's debut novel, Dancing on Thorns, is the girlie book to take on holiday. Set in the boho world of ballet, Horsfall's novel has all the right ingredients: tantrums, broken hearts and the rustle of tutu netting on naked skin. Somebody open a window!

— Elle Magazine

In Dancing on Thorns, novelist Rebecca Horsfall has pulled off a miracle. She's written a real, honest to God, can't-put-it down page turner that's character driven. The people she's created will keep you up until three in the morning as you laugh with them, and cry for them. You see the mix of talent, damaged heart, and passion that makes a star – and you find yourself praying for a happy ending for these amazing kids she's made you love.

— Louise Shaffer

Despite the recent success of “Strictly Come Dancing”, the world of ballet is still an unlikely setting for a highly commercial novel. However, Rebecca Horsfall's debut Dancing on Thorns is unputdownable. Horsfall really taps into the bitchy, cruel and competitive world of ballet to create fantastically troubled yet ferociously determined characters. This will do for ballet what Thornbirds did for the Outback and priests, especially given the unforgettable love story.

— The Bookseller

The story of young male ballet star Jean-Baptiste St Michel and Jonni Kendal, the actress who falls in love with him, balances the perceptions of glamour with the harsh realities of the professional ballet world while also creating a delightful Bohemian tone you can't help but immerse yourself in – and any novel that can make you both laugh out loud and weep with the characters' sadness is surely a winner.

— The Journal (Lincolnshire Echo)

With lyrical and elaborate prose, Horsfall has written a stunning debut novel that pulls readers into the tumultuous world of talented young artists on the edge. At 786 pages, it's a big read, but once immersed in this well-written, character-driven volume of work, you won't want to put it down.

— Allyn Pogue, FreshFiction.com

If you grew up dreaming of being a swan in a tutu, you'll love Dancing on Thorns, an old-fashioned ballet-themed saga set in the 21st century. Rebecca Horsfall's hefty 704-page debut pushes all the right buttons.

— In Style

With summer holidays on the horizon, Dancing on Thorns will make an ideal addition to any woman's suitcase this year.

— Birmingham Post

The return of the epic bonkbuster from a young writer who's been hailed as the new Jilly Cooper, this romance tells of a brilliant young male ballet star and the woman who falls in love with him. It may be 700 pages, but you'll love turning every one of them.

— Bella

We'd all like to think we're the kind of person who reads Booker Prize-winning novels. But the truth is, there's nothing better than a good, old-fashioned bonkbuster. Debut novelist Rebecca Horsfall gives us just that in this epic tale of Jonni – a girl captivated by the sexy but tortured Michel. Set in the world of ballet, this story charts 10 years in the lives of these characters as they struggle with past demons and present problems. A right riveting read – Spectacular.

— Reveal

This tale of love, dedication and dysfunctional relationships in the ballet world is unputdownable.

— Heat

DANCING ON THORNS stole my heart from the very first chapter as I embraced the tumultuous lives and passion of Michel and Jonni. Rebecca Horsfall gives us a massive story that is so addictive with such rich plots and characters that I found myself shedding many tears of sadness and joy as my heart became a part of this magnificent story.

— Briana Burress, Romance Junkies