Title: The Ballroom
Author: Anna Hope
Release Date/Publisher: September 6th 2016 by McClelland & Stewart
Finished: September 17th 2016
Pages: 320-ARC Paperback
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Where love is your only escape ….
1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors,
where men and women are kept apart
by high walls and barred windows,
there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.
For one bright evening every week
they come together
When John and Ella meet
It is a dance that will change
two lives forever.
Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.
What I Thought:
I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review from Peguin Random House Canada.
Another book that wasn’t normally what I would read, but it sounded good so I requested a copy. I did end up enjoying it though. It tells the story through Ella, John who’s the love interest, and Charles who is a doctor at the Asylum. They aren’t technically chapters but sections that start and end anywhere on the page. It was easy to stop and continue reading since they weren’t too long either. I found myself really involved in the book and I had a hard time putting it down, even though there were a few things that I would have liked more if they were different.
Some events were talked about and a few I got excited to read, then it would switch characters and it would be over. The other character would just kind of sum it up but a few times I wished we could have gone into detail about them. Especially one part at the end where it jumps forward quite a bit. That could have been drawn out more and I wanted to know more of what happened. The ending does conclude a few things, but not as much as I would have liked.
The characters were interesting, but I found that I liked the secondary characters the most. Clem and Dan had their own mysteries but they brought a lot to the story. I would have loved to know a little more about them too but I was happy they were there. The romance was nice although because of the separation of the genders, they didn’t get to be with each other much.
The main thing that this book really shows is how mental health was handled back then. It was much pretty bad, especially for the women who weren’t allowed to act out of anger even a bit or they’d be taken away. Some of the treatments and things Charles and others were considering were crazy. The author talks about her research and inspiration in the back of my copy, which is always great to read, and it helped give a little more story to things from that era and her writing.
I’ve never read anything else by this author before, but after this I think I’ll check out her other book too. While a few things could have been expanded for me, it was an enjoyable book t