Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ballroom: A Novel by Alice Simpson

4 Star

Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives.

Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

The very first thing that caught my eye with Ballroom was the beautiful cover. And I have always loved the thought of ballroom dancing though I don’t think I have the patience, nor talent, to take part in such a wonderful endeavor.

I loved how Simpson took a location where the characters met up, or at least all frequented, and built an entire story around their lives and interactions with each other. The story itself was occasionally a bit flat but the changing perspective and unknown factors kept me reading on, wanting to find out what would happen next.

I think that this is a tale that was uniquely New York and it was enjoyable to me for many reasons especially since it described many things in New York that I love, like specific parts of Brooklyn. It was not cliche in that it did not include the usual elements or descriptions that are usually expected when set in the city that never sleeps. It was rather an overall feeling of the people that inhabit the city that made it just right.

The plot was a bit harsh at times but I felt like it embodied what real life is really like, and in that particular city which almost has a soul of its own. I loved the way the peoples' lives and desires were described making you almost feel the needs that they had.

Ballroom may not be for everyone but I found it a unique idea for a story that had a somewhat shocking conclusion.

Thank you to Harper Collins for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Alice Simpson:
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