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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Still Point


Narrator: Vanessa Johansson

Tantor Audio

ISBN: 9781496739339

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: 02/20/2024

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)



Dance Moms meets Little Fires Everywhere in award winning author Tammy Greenwood’s addictive new novel set in the hyper cutthroat world of ballet girls and their mothers as they compete for a prestigious prize…


"The Still Point is a must-read full of love, hope, desire and jealousy – a vivid, compelling and deeply nuanced look at a place where lives are forever shaped and changed.” –Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Just the Nicest Couple


“She had never seen Bea dance like this. Ever sat spellbound as her daughter grew from a little girl into a woman before her eyes…”


Ever, Lindsay, and Josie have ushered their daughters—Bea, Olive, and Savvy—through years of dance classes in their coastal California town. They’ve tended bloodied feet, stitched ribbons to countless pairs of pointe shoes, and in the process, forged friendships that seem to transcend rivalry.


But now Etienne Bernay, enfant terrible of French ballet, has come to their conservatory. Not only will he direct this year’s production of The Nutcracker, but he’s brought along a film crew to document his search for one special student who will receive a full scholarship to the Ballet de Paris Academie. For the girls, this is the chance to fulfill lifelong dreams. For Ever, recently widowed and struggling financially, it may be the only way to keep Bea dancing. And Bea is a truly gifted dancer—poetic and ethereal, breathtaking to watch.


Lindsay, meanwhile, frets that Olive is growing tired of the punishing reality of training, while Josie has no such qualms about Savvy, who is a powerhouse of ambition.


From auditions to casting to rehearsals, the cameras capture the selection process, with its backstabbing and jealousy, disappointment and triumph. But it’s behind the scenes that Bernay’s arrival will yield the most shocking revelations, exposing the secrets and lies at the heart of all three families—and the sacrifices women make for their children, for friendship, and for art.


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My Review


Master storyteller Tammy Greenwood (or T. Greenwood) returns following Such a Pretty Girl with her most personal and captivating novel yet, THE STILL POINT.


With the author's firsthand knowledge (ballet mom), she masterfully takes us inside the world of ballet, the sacrifices, competition, dreams, desires, and ambitions —from dancers to moms —and, most importantly, a love letter to her daughter, mothers, and ballet. (a beautiful Author's Note)


"At the still point of the turning world, Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is . . ." —T.S. Eliot

Set in a coastal Southern California town to New York, moms Ever (writer), Josie, and Lindsay have been friends since their daughters, Bea, Savvy, and Olive, began ballet lessons from rehearsals to competitions and everything in between.


However, ambition trumps friendship and a fight for a sought-after scholarship with a prestigious prize —GAME ON!


At the center of the unrest, testing the friendships of the girls and moms, is Etienne Bernay—a twenty-seven-year-old principal at Ballet de Paris. Not only will he direct this year's production of The Nutcracker, but an award-winning film crew will document this journey.


He would join the CLCB faculty for the fall semester and assist Vivienne with the Conservatory's production of The Nutcracker. He would select one dancer to send back to the Ballet de Paris for the spring term on a scholarship he would sponsor.


The prize: One student who will receive a full scholarship to the Ballet de Paris Academie. For the girls, it is a chance of a lifetime.


THE STILL POINT follows three mothers and three daughters while the girls compete for a scholarship. Each character has their own issues. Told creatively in Acts and Scenes, from POVs: Bea, Ever, Josie, Lindsay.


Ever recently widowed is struggling financially, it may be the only way to keep Bea dancing. Bea is a truly gifted dancer—poetic and ethereal, breathtaking to watch. She learns her husband's life insurance policy has been nullified. Ever is desperate for this scholarship. Ever is artistic, and her ambition plays out in the chapters (parallels).


Lindsay has issues with her marriage, while Josie is a woman who is accustomed to getting what she wants and uses men.


Beatrice and Savvy are very competitive, which was apparent even before Etienne. Etienne has his agenda and hopes to repair his reputation via Lotte's film, but Lotte has other plans.


Dark and searing, who will win out in the end?


Enthralling! A standing ovation. At its center is a mystery —think: “Big Little Lies” meets “Black Swan.”


I have been a huge fan of the author for many years and have read every book. Her writing is insightful, lyrical, and evocative, and I am in awe of her talent. She is one of my top 20 favorite authors.


If you have followed her as long as I have, you know she is a proud ballet mom. Sometimes, readers do not consider writers' moms, too—juggling responsibilities, especially the time and effort of being a ballet mom in this highly competitive world. In the end, ballet moms are like all other moms who want their children to find happiness. However, sometimes, we cannot control everything surrounding our children, as we see so masterfully portrayed in this authentic and eloquently written novel.


THE STILL POINT is an absorbing, captivating fictional version with lyrical prose and metaphors of fire, beauty, nature, and art.


We get an inside peek at the world of ballet and what happens when ambition becomes dark. From jealousy, obsession, cutthroat competition, deception, betrayals, secrets, sacrifice, and disappointments to hope, triumph, and the pursuit of dreams.


Absorbing, both plot and character-driven, Greenwood masterfully explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards perfection in the name of artistic expression, and the double-edged sword of ambition, passion, rivalry, and the secrets that women hold.


Bonuses included — A Glossary of Ballet Terms used in The Still Point, Bea's Playlist, an Author's note, and A Reading Group Guide, perfect for book clubs and further discussions.


The novel is for fans of author Rachel Kapelke-Dale. I highly recommend all Tammy (or T. Greenwood) books. Each is a gem to treasure. If you enjoyed The Still Point, I highly recommend Such a Pretty Girl another mom/daughter story of art and ambition. Also check out my #AuthorElevatorSeries Q&A with the author.


Much gratitude to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an early review copy for honest feedback. #CoverCrush



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Feb 20, 2024













Praise



"The Still Point is a must-read full of love, hope, desire and jealousy – a vivid, compelling and deeply nuanced look at a place where lives are forever shaped and changed.”

–Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Just the Nicest Couple


“Instantly transports you to the cutthroat, brutally competitive, and beautiful world of ballet in this richly-detailed, expertly-plotted, absorbing tale of friendship, motherhood, passion, and dreams, found, lost, and found again.”

– Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Overnight Guest


“Fans of Dance Moms and Megan Abbott will love this literary take on the competitive world of elite ballet training. With Tammy Greenwood’s firsthand knowledge of the subject, precise writing and well-drawn characters, The Still Point is an authentic and eloquent rumination on the ways that love—in all its forms—shapes our lives. Parental hopes, marital bonds, youthful passions: What does commitment mean in a life filled with inevitable changes?”

– Zoje Stage, USA Today bestselling author of Baby Teeth and Wonderland



A sensitive and deeply felt love letter to the joys—and struggles—of raising a dancer. Authentic and propulsive."—Meg Howrey, author of They’re Going to Love You and The Cranes Dance

"Ballet moms--the women behind the scenes of every dance school, sewing costumes, buying pointe shoes, organizing carpools--are often caricatured, maligned, misunderstood. By focusing on the moms as much as the aspiring dancers, Tammy Greenwood gives the ballet novel a brilliant twist-- uncovering new layers of drama, ambition and humanity."

- Alice Robb, acclaimed author of Don't Think, Dear: On Loving and Leaving Ballet







About the Author



Tammy Greenwood is an acclaimed author whose novels have sold more than a quarter million copies. A four-time winner of the San Diego Book Award, she has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Five of her novels have been Indie Next Picks and her twelfth novel, Rust & Stardust, was a LibraryReads selection. Her novels have been translated into five languages. She lives with her family in San Diego, California, where she teaches creative writing for The Writer's Center and San Diego Writer's Ink, studies photography, and continues to write. Please visit her online at TGreenwood.com.






Check out my two Elevator Interviews with Tammy! Where we go behind the book and the author!



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