Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hester's Story

My Mum bought me Hester’s Story by Adele Geras when we went to a recent trash and treasure in a nearby village. She thought I would enjoy it because it is about a ballet dancer; and I do ballet. My enforced absence from my blog over the last week and a bit has actually been because of ballet – as I was very busy in the lead up to my ballet school’s concert. Hester’s story oscillates between two time periods: Hester’s youth in the 1930s/1940s and the mid 1980s. Hester (real name Estelle) was born in France where her mother, a ballet dancer, died giving birth to her. Her Father despised her, blaming her for her mother’s death. She did, however, have a very treasured relationship with her Grandmother – who raised her.

At age 6 her Father sends her to live in England with her Mother’s cousin, who has a daughter of a similar age. She is very unhappy there, until a strange Russian woman moves into an old house on the village edge. It turns out that the woman is ballet teacher and, after discovering Hester’s innate talent, commits to teaching her free of charge. Eventually, when she is 14 Madame Olga gets Hester a placement at a London ballet company, where she rises to be a principal. Her achievements are compromised when she begins an affair with a married patron of the ballet company and falls pregnant.

Fast forward to the 1980s and Hester is now retired and running an annual ballet festival (in Madame Olga’s old house). Each Christmas one choreographer is invited to come and stage a work. This year it is Hugo Carradine and his company. He is involved with Claudia, his prima ballerina; though their relationship is fraught. Actually, Claudia is a singularly nasty piece of work and behaves appallingly towards her daughter – who has accompanied her. It soon becomes clear that the past and present are very strongly intertwined. And there I must stop or I will give away the ending!


  1. I have this one waiting on the shelf. Thanks for your review!

  2. Loved this one and all of Adele's other adult books