The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

(10 customer reviews)

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Author: Lola Keeley


When new dancer Anna isn’t nervous as hell around her ice queen ballet mentor Victoria, she’s falling in love with the beautiful and powerful woman. This age-gap, workplace lesbian romance is a sizzling, award-winning page-turner, whether you’re into ballet or not.

Anna is the newest member of an elite ballet company. Her first class with her mysterious idol, Victoria, almost ruins her career before it starts. When she shows she might be a potential star, Victoria chooses Anna to launch a new season around.

Now Anna must face down jealousy, sabotage, and injury, not to mention navigate the circus of friends and lovers within the company. The pressure builds as she knows she must pour everything she has into opening night and prove to her rivals and herself that Victoria’s faith in her is not misplaced.

In the process, Anna discovers that she and the daring, beautiful Victoria have a lot more than a talent for ballet in common, and that not every thrilling dance can be found on stage.

Additional information

Publication Date

April 2018


epub, mobi, and pdf


120,000 words




978-3-96324-015-7 (mobi), 978-3-96324-016-4 (epub), 978-3-96324-017-1 (pdf)


Ylva Publishing

10 reviews for The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

  1. Tiff at The Romantic Reader Blog


    There are books out there that you love, 5 stars all the way, you read the book, you love it and depending if you are like me you will most likely read them again. There are some books though and these are the truly great ones. You know these books, The Blind Side of Love, How Sweet It Is, and And Playing the Role of Herself. The books that are truly in another realm of greatness. Outstanding books that pull emotion from you, that the story wraps you in a cocoon and all you see and hear is the characters on your page. Those books are the ones when you find them you treasure them forever. I found one!

    The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley isn’t good, it isn’t great, its next level amazing. This book is exceptional in every single way. No flaws, no lags, no character misses. Nope, it is phenomenal. Yes, I used my thesaurus for adjectives. You cannot just say awesome eleventy billion times, come on now. 

    Anna Gale is a new dancer at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. She has been a ballet dancer all her life, she lives and breathes it. Coming to New York from Dubuque, Iowa to studying and dance under the greatest ballet dancer of the modern era is her dream come true. Anna embodies this wholesome rock solid nature. She’s one of these really good people that others cannot dislike because she is just a noble person. She cares for others, even when it’s in her best interest not too. She works harder than everyone else without complaint and eager to do so. Ballet literally fuels her soul.

    Victoria Ford is known as the greatest ballet dancer in modern times. When she danced audiences were captivated by her skill and artistry. An injury to her knee has sidelined her from dancing so now she choreographs and runs the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. Victoria is not an easy woman to please, she is beyond tough, she expects excellence from everyone around her and when it’s less than that you can expect biting, caustic remarks intended to sting. She is truly the emotionally detached ice queen.

    This is a dialogue-heavy book, with lots of exchanges between characters. Lola Keeley takes her story and layers it. There is no skipping ahead or fast-forwarding through life moments, hell no. This author takes her time and draws out the story and the tension The sub-plots are done with craftsmanship and skill. She creates supporting characters that are distinct and authentic. The banter between Anna and Victoria, oh the banter, well its legendary and they talk like real honest to god people. The key to real-life characters is nuance. Lola Keeley could teach a class on it because her characters have it and it is glorious. As the reader I thank you. 

    It’s bittersweet when this book ends. This is a story that I adored, absolutely cherished. I miss it already, but know without a doubt will visit many times again. Lola Keeley made true love jump off a page like a ballerina in a Grande Jeté. Her first book by the way. Yeah, WOW and that wow is the understatement of the year.

    All the stars

  2. Chimera


    I promise you won’t be able to put it down. I know I couldn’t from the moment I started. The characters suck you in and each twist or turn woven within the main plot only furthers the inherent fear that if you put it down you might just miss something.

    I cannot even begin to express how much I love this and the characters that Dame Lola has seen fit to invite us in order to get to know them and their world so as to make them a memorable part of our own.

    She writes so fantastically, the flow is impeccable and she weaves and manages hyperbole into each element of her story that it’s insane.

    I can read her narrative and feel and hear every character with finite precision, I can see their body language as if I were witnessing it in person. Keeley manages to convey a point or character or unspoken word so magnanimously that one can swear they see the phantoms of those narratives right in front of them as clear as if they were people watching in grand central station

  3. Karola Meyer


    Even if you don‘t know a thing about ballet, just like me, this book will take you on a beautiful journey through very hard trainings, sweat and tears, love and hate, thrust and faith and leaving you with an insight you‘ll see these dancers from a complete new side. I really enjoyed this book.

  4. tlkiseleva

    (verified owner):

    The Music and the Mirror. Okay. I have never been a fan of ballet. But while i was reading it and trying to imagine the moves and the jumps and i was thinking i should totally watch some ballet.
    I loved Anna and Victoria and Irina and Jess. I giggled and cried and giggled again and at some point bawled like a baby.
    I had to pause reading it because i wanted to prolong the joy. I stopped when there were 80 pages left. I almost closed it again when there was just the epilogue left but i was so engrossed in it even tear eyed I couldn’t stop.
    I recommend this book to everyone, doesn’t matter whether you like ballet or not.
    The book is magnificent. I believe i shall be rereading it many many times.

  5. stephasselin


    The Music & The Mirror by Lola Keeley.

    Did you ever read a book that is so well written that all the words are flowing just like moves to a well choreographed ballet?

    Lola Keeley’s debut novel is filled with so many dance moves that you might even find yourself searching through YouTube videos to watch different ballets and technical terms in order to picture the story’s moves perfectly. I know I did. The Music & The Mirror is captivating and as soon as you pick the book, it’s hard, almost impossible to drop it. Even if like me, you know almost nothing about ballet.

    The story of a passionate Anna Gale, who has always dreamed of becoming a Prima (The most important female in a ballet company), or at least be featured in an elite company’s production who gets her chance and is trained by Victoria Ford. After a misfortune at her first rehearsal under the demanding Ms. Ford, she has to prove to her idol and to herself that she has all that it takes to become what is expected of her and even more. The story basically revolves around Anna learning to master her art and technique while Victoria is pushing her to become even more than what Anna believes she can be.

    What happens when Victoria wants to shake up the ballet convention by using Anna as a Prince, a role usually filled by a man? Can the newcomer handle the challenge and all the press around this possible role? Can she prove to her bosses that she has all it takes to get great critics for the company? It’s about finding your inner power and using it to achieve all the goals and dreams you always had in your life.

    The story is believable on every aspect possible, the unexpected romance, the hard, competitive side of ballet crews and jealousy within it is well portrayed.

    The character that impressed me by its multiple facets was Victoria’s one, mostly because of all the different emotions she was able to get from me. Hard as hell at times, soft as a peach in others, I was torn between loving and hating her character and somehow, it was what kept me going in the book. The complexity of Anna‘s character is not to be forgotten though. I wish there was a little more detail about her youth, I think it would’ve added to the characters personality, though the mystery it creates instead is not to be forgotten.
    The native French speaker in me has to give bonus points for the integration of a few French words; it was nice to read them throughout the story. The book remains a mystery and everything happening is highly unexpected, which is rare to see in a book. Every time I was convinced I knew what was bound to happen, the writer surprised me with total unexpected events.

    I recommend this book to every reader out there; it will surely become a hit and I look forward to reading more of this talented writer. Lola Keeley showed with her debut novel that she has all it takes to dominate the sales with this great success.

    Rainbow Moose’s Reviews

  6. zombieversion

    (verified owner):

    This is Lola Keeley’s debut novel and it stands up by itself with the setting very richly described and the cast of characters are well fleshed out. So don’t worry if you have never had an interest in ballet and have no idea what any of the terms are. I didn’t either, but the descriptions are enough to help you visualize the movements. The plotline moves at a good pace and it never falters. Nothing gets left hanging, not even the subplots. But it’s not all sunshine and puppies in the ballet world and this novel doesn’t shy from showing the darker side of people in very intense competitive situations, and there are very real stakes in this.

    When it comes to the characters, I love the feelings that each interaction evokes, especially the romance between Anna Gale (the bright new girl who’s tapped to become Prima), and Victoria Ford (the retired star ballerina turned artistic director). The dynamics between them are delicious. There are sparks from the start, with Anna having been a ballet fan (and of Victoria) since she was young and Victoria quickly realizing Anna’s talent could shake up the entire ballet ecosystem, and it develops into something much more as they get to work more closely with each other. And I definitely wanted more moments where they got to interact in a non-ballet setting just to have more time with these characters (shows you how amazing the author is to create characters and relationships that just pull you in and make you never want to leave)

    review on tumblr:

  7. blondi987


    I simply cannot believe this is Lola Keeley’s debut novel. The word perfect comes to mind when I think of this book. It is one of the best written books that I’ve read in quite a while When an author can take a reader into a story that is totally alien to her and make the reader feel and live that story through her words, you know you have a great author and a superb story. Lola Keeley did just that with this reader.

    I almost didn’t choose this book , mainly because I know so little about dance in general and ballet in particular that I wondered if I would be bored. For those of you thinking the same thoughts, let me put your mind at ease. You will love the story even if you know absolutely nothing about ballet.
    This is a character driven story, and the characters are vivid and realistically written. I quickly fell in love with Anna and Victoria. They were so well developed they became almost real to me. Even the minor characters became friends and/or adversaries as I read. I loved with them, laughed with them, cried with them and hurt with them. In effect, I became totally invested with the story and with the characters. I hated to see the end of the book, and I’m very sure this will be one of those books that I will read more than once.

    This is an excellent first book, Ms. Keeley, and I will be looking avidly for many more.

  8. Patricia Iserman


    I have never watched a ballet except for the Nutcracker on TV.
    After reading this book I feel I have missed out on an amazing experience.
    The descriptions of the work involved in becoming a ballerina and maintaining their bodies sounds torturous.Any woman or man who would put themselves through such a demanding lifestyle must truly love to perform.How else could they endure it?
    Anna and Victoria are a joy to get to know.One is so jaded and one is so thrilled just to be able to dance.
    I loved this story.

  9. last year's girl


    If you liked the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born (ugh, why) but thought it needed more lesbians and less coercive control, then you will love the Lola Keeley’s debut novel. Anna Gale is a small-town girl with a tragic past in her first season at New York’s Metropolitan Ballet, plucked from obscurity in the corps to save her childhood idol’s season as artistic director. Sparks fly, of course – this is Ylva, after all – but not at the expense of characterisation, plot and just enough detail to fully immerse you in the world of professional ballet without turning off the lay reader.

  10. Kiwigirl55104


    Dreamy Dancers
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s been a long time since I read a story about a dancer and this one was most excellent! It started out at a good pace and stayed steady which made it a fast but good read. The characters felt magical to me. The elegant and regal Victoria, the fresh-faced and persistent Anna, the other female dancers classic and proud and dreamy… I cared so much about all of them. The slowly building love story was special too, I could feel the emotions and I knew when they were finally intimate it would be so intense and amazing. This book is as timeless and classic as ballet itself.

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