#Audiobookreview: The Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke-Dale #WomensFiction #Music #Metoomovement


My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit in this new novel of suspense about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition, and the rewards of revenge.

When former piano prodigy Saskia Kreis returns home to Milwaukee after her mother’s unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate, the Elf House. But with the discovery that her mother’s will bequeathed the Elf House to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, she is forced to reexamine her own past–and the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life–for answers. Can she find a way to claim her heritage while keeping her secrets buried, or will the fallout from digging too deep destroy her?

Set against a post #MeToo landscape, Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s The Ingenue delves into mother-daughter relationships, the expectations of talent, the stories we tell ourselves, and what happens when the things that once made you special are taken from you. Moving between Saskia’s childhood and the present day, this dark, contemporary fairy tale pulses with desire, longing, and uncertainty, as it builds to its spectacular, shocking climax.


Saskia, a former piano prodigy, comes home after her mother’s death to find that she is not inheriting The Elf House, their family mansion. Instead, it is going to the most improbable person she could have imagined. As Saskia begins to investigate why her mother would have done this, shocking truths are revealed.

I was absolutely awed by this. The writing is fantastic, and the premise is unique and original. The weaving together of Saskia’s present and past is exquisitely done. Her mother’s personality shines through the book as well. The author flawlessly presents a unique work of fiction combining music, art, and the depths and heights a human being can reach. The “me too” movement is a part of this book in a big way, but that’s all I will say.

Each chapter is headed by an excerpt from a book written by Saskia’s mother called “Fairytales for Little Feminists.” In each one, the woman or girl takes control of her own story. What I realized at the end of the book is that this novel is Saskia’s fairytale.

If you think you’ve figured out what’s going on in this book by reading my review or the synopsis, you haven’t. Read it.

The narrator, Stephanie Willis, does a wonderful job of capturing the suspense and emotion of this book in all the different characters. I will look for her work in the future.

I received a free audiobook from MacMillan Audio. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Rachel Kapelke-Dale is a writer of fiction, memoir, and satire. She currently resides in Paris.



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*The Ingenue will be released December 6, 2022.

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