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Imprint: Magpie

Clara & Olivia

Lucy Ashe

“Surely you would like to be immortalised in art, fixed forever in perfection?”

Sadler’s Wells, 1933.

I would kill to dance like her.

Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match identical twin Clara’s charm. 

I would kill to be with her.

As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly like they are being watched. And, as infatuation turns to obsession, everything begins to unravel.

  • Publication date: February 2, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780861544080
  • RRP: £16.99
  • Pages: 352


'Clara & Olivia dances with historical details, with unease and atmosphere. You can feel the mist of the London canals, hear the ballet shoes touching the stage.'

Abigail Dean, author of Girl A

This unsettling tale… As the story follows the rehearsals for the ballet Coppelia, we receive a quick-fire education on how the ballet works and why it inspires obsession… An original thriller with a crafty plot.’

Daily Mail

'This book was a joy to read from start to finish. Ashe's writing is razor-sharp with a lyrical edge to it, and there were times when I wished I could write just as well. Rich, mesmerising and compelling, Clara & Olivia heralds the arrival of a bright new voice in literary fiction. This one will have the cash registers ringing.'

Awais Khan, author of No Honour

‘A spellbinding thriller, set against a fascinating background and so beautifully written.’ 

Frances Quinn, author of The Smallest Man

'Lucy has created a mesmerising atmosphere in her debut novel. This story is one of dreadful, delirious ambition as well as the relentless drive for perfection - both as a woman and a performer - that cannot be sustained. Every violent act is a protest against this paralysing perfection. Beautiful.'

Sally Oliver, author of The Weight of Loss

'Vividly rich and full of depth, Clara & Olivia is a compellingly chilling work by a debut author who makes storytelling look easy. An expertly crafted filmic depiction of gritty twin leads desperate to succeed in these dark streets while harbouring even darker motivations. A novel that entraps you within its web of sinister secrets; I pirouetted from page to page desperate to know what happens. This book has everything and I will be recommending it to everybody.'

Ashley Hickson-Lovence, author of The 392

'Clara and Olivia is a delight, a book that is at times historical fiction, at times a love story to ballet, and at times even a bit of a thrilling whodunit.'


‘Quite a debut, very assured and confident…  a wonderfully told story which will appeal to a wide range of people because of the interesting characters and a strong plot threaded throughout.’ 


‘Ashe trained with the Royal Ballet School, and she is fascinating on the detail of the girls’ lives; on the pain and the bloodied feet that underpin the perfection of the dance, on, as Samuel says, “this mad life you all live, always on the edge of pain and exhaustion”. A wonderful, eye-opening debut.’ 


The Times

'Lucy Ashe’s debut novel is a clever thriller set in a world which she knows so well, having trained at the Royal Ballet School and being a twin. It’s a story of sisterly love, ambition, and obsession. I particularly liked the inclusion of real-life characters, such as Dame Ninette de Valois and Alicia Markova, and discovering Sadler’s Wells really did have a well in it. The novel was written from several points of view, and while that can be a difficult format for the reader, it works as the characters are compelling. Take a bow, Ms Ashe.'

Historical Novel Review

Lucy Ashe

After training at the Royal Ballet School for eight years, Lucy Ashe decided to change career plans and go to university, where she read English Literature before becoming a teacher. Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of literary journals and she was shortlisted for the 2020 Impress Prize for New Writers. 

Author page

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