John comes from Ireland. He had a past which he has lost and he has ended up far from home.
Ella had thrown something through a window. Her actions mean she has ended up away from home.
Charles wanted to prove himself, wants to make an improvement in people’s lives through music.
All three are captured in the heat wave of 1911.
They are in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.
Their paths cross in different ways.
John is a threat to Charles.
Charles thinks that Ella can eventually leave
John and Ella normally segregated are brought together in the Ballroom.
This story, is quietly moving. Anna Hope has managed to take something which is very dear to her heart and turn it into a story with so much emotion, letting it run free across the pages as well as tightly bound in within the characters. I was left feeling moved and uplifted with the story and when I read the author’s note at the end I came away with another viewpoint.
As historical fiction this book is a must read. An area of history that has always fascinated in a macabre way but something that should not be simply brushed away into the annals of history and not spoken about. Anna Hope has opened the doors on an asylum and let everyone in to see what it was like. From the structure of the working day, the food they ate, the exercise given, the way out if there was ever one to be returned into society. And of course the treatment, no matter how harrowing it could be.
Away from those that lived within the institution walls, we learn how the government and certain members of society felt that they should be dealing with those behind these walls. It was frightening but fascinating to learn of the eugenics movement, to see names synonymous with other times in history such as Churchill, lead me to learn far more than I ever expected to.
And that is why this second novel from Anna Hope is just as good as the first. Sometimes second novels are notoriously pitched wrongly, are never as good as the first, are just the stop-gap until the excellent third novel appears. Here this theory does not apply.
Anna Hope’s novel The Ballroom, creates a world behind closed doors, brings in light, romance and the future to many. The ending you want perhaps does not happen, but the ending you get will leave this book with you for a very long time.
Definitely one of the books of 2016 to look out for.
The Ballroom by Anna Hope is out on the 11 Feb in all hardcover and ebook.
You can follow Anna Hope on twitter @Anna_Hope where she says she likes the parts history leaves out. I concur and which is why I enjoyed this book immensely.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book.
I need to read it again, but this time with a physical copy in my hand, I feel I need to hold it in my hands to experience it fully. Ebooks are all well and good but sometimes the only way to feel like you are experiencing a book and giving it your full attention is to be there turning the pages.