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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 December 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, well, well. Just what a fool I have been, as this book has been on my to read pile for an age and I was silly to have not picked it up sooner. I don't know why, it looks like quite a hefty read and if I'm honest, reading the synopsis, the world of the ballerina didn't quite seem `me'. Well, I am certainly paying for that mistake now! I have already ordered Karen Swan's other two books and am looking forward to reading them.

Karen Swan's debut novel entitled Players was released in 2010 and her follow up Prima Donna in 2011. I think you could say her genre was more Bonkbuster than Chick Lit and her front cover of this book certainly didn't do the book justice.

We meet Pia Soto who is a world class ballerina and the sort of character you just love to hate. She is spoiled, wealthy, and a complete pain to work with. Her assistant Sophie is the plain but talented Irish PA to the star and her polar opposite.

When a tragedy occurs neither of them realise the extent their lives will change. Enter Will Silk, the smooth and very manipulative man who is determined to win over the famous Pia Soto. Will Silk was also another character I loved to loathe but these people were so absorbing that I literally couldn't put the book down.

The story itself moves along at a brilliant pace with lots of drama and many other characters coming into play. The story is also taken to different parts of the world as each character deals with their own situation. At around the halfway mark things really start to hot up and I found that I read the second half of the book in one sitting.

The added bonus for me was the rather big plot twist towards the end (which I didn't see coming) and the fact that I really did grow to like Pia by the end of the story. All in all I was shocked by just how absorbing this book was and I cannot recommend it highly enough. First class read!
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on 11 January 2011
What an amazing book! I could not believe that I can actually identify myself with the main character. Pia is a ballet dancer, an international star I would say, who is extremely rude, sarcastic but succesfull on almost all levels. She is driven by anger, by what her father did to her family, by the feeling of being ripped off a happy childhood. She gets injured, recovers, changes her approach to life and tries to rebuilt her lost frienship with Sophie who used to be her assistant. Pia never bothered with excuses or using the word such as "please", she got it her way anyway. Not this time. She is being manipulated and expected to be grateful. Yet again she managed to get away from it and start afresh. Does she succeed? Did she even stand a chance after all that happened?
Give yourself a day to find out...
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I really wasn't expecting much from this, but Karen Swan has created a group of fascinating characters and episodes of frequent faux pas - centred around Prima ballerina Pia Soto - run through with a constant tickling question of who's using who. Swan's writing is beautifully paced, enough description without loading the reader down, and the story moves along at a cool breezy speed.

Swan has researched what goes on in ballet life, so we are treated to many classical terms for movements when Pia and her fellow dancers are rehearsing or performing. But the real fascination lies in the unlocking of Pia Soto's true personality behind the Prima Donna image. This is a glorious holiday read - a cut above the usual Chick Lit books. Highly recommended
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I just managed to read this huge 566 page book in just over 24hrs. Which is pretty impressive even by my standards.
This is one of the best books I have read this in genre, I literally could not put it down and whilst at work, all I wanted to do was stop working and read.

I LOVED all of the characters, even when they were being complete brats.
I was a bit confused at first by the beginning trying to guess which ballerina was the girl in the beginning, but it soon became obvious. Pia was written very well, she came across as a bit of a spoilt bitch at first but thats the impression we are meant to get I think. There were plenty of layers to this character and I enjoyed reading and finding out more about her character and who she was etc. It was also obvious to me who her love interest would be, and I enjoyed that aspect. It wasnt a love dovey book by any stretch, in fact this made it better for me because the characters did seem to get to know one another even if they started off disliking one another.
I have to admit I was a bit shocked at the transformation of Will Silk...but again I liked that the character changed drastically because it actually made sense, and made sense of his actions and his thoughts. We didnt get a lot from his perspective but am guessing thats because the author didnt want to give away anything.

The descriptions of the ballet world were also written very well. I have no idea how accurate they are but its how I would imagine they are the descrptions of the music, the costumes and the dancing left me feeling like I wanted to go watch a ballet. And made me think of the film Black Swan and the dancing from that is what I imagined.

I haven't read Karen Swan's previous book Players and I am not sure I will after "seeing" Harry Hunter's character in this book, altho I wouldn't rule it out. I would definately read another one of her books in the future though.
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VINE VOICEon 14 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Really enjoyed this book, great characters and a few good twists along the way...sometimes books like this are usually slow starters, getting you up to date with the technical terms of the dance etc, but this book wasn't like that. Other reviews give you a good insight into the plot of the for me, really recommend you buy it!!!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you thought that ballet was all about the drama and passion on the stage, wait until you discover what happens behind the scenes in "Prima Donna". Between pirouettes, arabesques and en point work, expect treachery, heartbreak and an amazing discovery.

At the heart of the wealthy jet set lifestyle portrayed by Karen Swan is the wildest and most brilliant ballerina in the world; Pia Soto. At just 24 she has the ballet world at her feet and has earned the reputation as quite a diva. Striving for excellence Pia may be a sharp, somewhat mercenary and ruthless character but her dedication to her art is unquestionable and by the end of this book I liked her and was rooting for a happy ever after. There are countless men surrounding Pia, and although it's fairly clear who she'll eventually end up with, her initial feelings about him and the dalliances she indulges in before admitting these feelings make an entertaining read.

Set in the world of fabulous jewellery, inconceivable wealth and jets to the next polo match, the gruelling schedule of a professional ballerina keeps the story line from becoming too fantastical. There are several blossoming relationships, a steady undercurrent of who is using who and for what purposes plus a memorable leading lady.
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on 18 August 2014
A pretty awful book that starts of promising but then just gets completely lost! I skipped half of it just to get to the end. It's long and overdrawn and completely gets lost in a silly plot. The beginning starts off with a great line up of characters, you feel the chemistry between Will and Pia pretty strongly, especially when he appears as her knight in shining armour, but would could have been never materializes and your left wishing it had gone the other way! Tanner never captures the same chemistry with Pia and poor Sophie's character is pretty useless its just a mess of a story! .
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on 1 January 2014
I am fairly new to Karen Swann books but having read the two most recent Christmas ones, am reading them all. I really enjoy her work.
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on 28 June 2012
I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting and I loved all the characters. The descriptions of the ballet terms were great and the characters were in depth. Lots of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

The ending was a little predictable and happy ever after, it all seemed to be crammed into the last few pages, but that is what a novel is about.

Am so glad I have found this author and cant wait to read her other work.
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on 14 January 2013
I did love this book. I actually warmed to Pia the ballerina and her prima-donna attitude and the plot - yes there is a good plot to this as well, was based on reality, even though it was in the world of opera, not ballet.
Sophie grew and became her own person, using her talent and all was tied together at the end, with a wonderful denouement.
If you want an escapist read, this book is it. There's serious competition for Jilly Cooper here.
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