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Rachel Kapelke-Dale Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Ballerinas (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ingenue (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fortune Seller (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Graduates in Wonderland (With: Jessica Pan) (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Rachel Kepelke Dale is an American author of contemporary fiction and memoir novels. Her debut novel was Graduated in Wonderland, published in 2014. The author co-wrote the book with Jessica Pan about their post-graduation years.

Kapelke-Dale spent many years in intense ballet training before graduating with a BA from Brown University, an MA from Universite’ de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. from University College London.

She loves dogs, ballet, and reading books when not writing.

The Ballerinas
Delphine is the daughter of the famous Prima Ballerina, and she knows she has a talent in her and tries her best to be like her mother. Around fourteen years ago, she left her position at the Paris Ballet to begin a new life in Russia. While there, she meets a Russian choreographer who charms her. She holds her secret that could turn her friends and fellow dancers’ lives. Now at the age of 36, she has gone back to her old home and goes to the Palais Garnier Opera House as a choreographer, hoping that it’ll help her kickstart her career.

She now hopes that she has the chance to make amends with her old friends Lindsay and Margaux but soon realizes that things have changed a lot while she was away. Delphine and Margaux had been friends before Lindsay joined them some years later. Over the years, as many girls came and went, their friendship endured every challenge before Delphine left when she turned twenty-two. After leaving to start a new life as an assistant and lover to an older man and now she’s back, hoping to have a successful career as a choreographer.

Delphine and Margaux held a secret about something they did to Lindsay fourteen years ago. Delphine doesn’t plan on unveiling the secret, but Margaux has a different feeling. She feels that there are secrets that can no longer stay buried forever. Can their friendship which Delphine feels doesn’t fit anymore, survive the truth? What did they do to Lindsay?

She is willing to risk her career by giving Lindsay a portion that she might not handle. It seems all their careers have been built on a hill of sand, and everything is collapsing.

The story alternates between the present days and the adolescent trio years as the novel explores complications of female friendship and the drive towards physical perfection to have good artistic expression. It showed when the girls became friends in their childhood and the start of their roller-coaster relationship. The author shows the ambition, passion, and rage that many women hold inside while throwing a twist that the reader can’t see coming.
Rachel did detailed research on ballet as she gives vivid details and descriptions of what it takes to be a ballet dancer. She lists the commitments, obsession, and nature of competitive rivalries, pressure, challenges, culture, and sacrifices one has to go through to make it.

Somebody issues emerge in the story, like beauty and how one has to endure the damage to their foot as a ballerina. Rachel points out how women are offered shorter careers than male ballet dancers. The author gives a surprising conclusion while showing how one’s past can damage their present life. Can Delphine make amends with her two friends after what happened?

The Ballerinas uses the professional dance setting to point out how difficult it may be to keep female friendships while abiding by the rules of ballet’s culture. It’s a twirling dream story exploring the sacrifices, including shrinking women and the pressure of always being perfect. The story is so engaging that the reader will engage in the first pages.

The Ballerinas keep their loyalty to their loved ones more than they keep for ballet while they measure how much of themselves and their bodies they are willing to offer. Rachel develops the characters so well as they face personal and professional challenges in their lives. She has weaved a story with rigors of ballet training, pointing out the emotional progression of three friends over time.

Fourteen years ago, Delphine’s former and somehow current crush Jock stirs up old emotions, and the director challenges her to feature someone else except Lindsay in the starring role. Delphine is hesitant about it because she feels that she owes the role to Lindsay; why does she feel that way?

Can their friendship stand the test of time, considering they have had so many life trials during the time they were apart? Will Delphine’s return as a choreographer lift all the women, or will they keep on fighting one another for their survival?

Graduated in Wonderland
The book is a story of two best friends who document their post-college lives in a relatable and honest Memoir. The friends met at Brown University during their first year until they completed their course. Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke Dale promised to be in touch with each other after their senior year through communication by email.

After graduation, Jess packed everything that belonged to her and moved to Beijing as Rachel went to New York to work in an art gallery to figure out her love life. Each spends toppling over through adulthood and reinventing themselves in different countries in the next few years.

They send each other messages worldwide as they exchange stories of teaching military men classes flirting in foreign languages, and going through hardships like accidents and breakups. Their adventures, jobs, and people they meet along the way are a picture of 20-something girls finding their way into the real world. The two ladies are so courageous, taking risks without thinking about the consequences of their decisions.

In 5 years, the two friends only met twice, and with their changing world of new jobs, locations, grad schools, and boyfriends, the friendship remained the same. Graduates in Wonderland is a story filled with relatable moments of success, love, happiness, and sometimes disappointments.

It’s a charming read of two friends trying to figure out their lives after college while keeping their friendship alive, even when sometimes it’s hard for some people to keep post-college friends.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rachel Kapelke-Dale

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