Title: Ballroom written by Alice Simpson
Page count: 280
Rating – 4/5
Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel—reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh—about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall 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. As the rhythms of the Ballroom ebb and flow through these characters’ hearts, their fates come together in touching, unexpected ways.
Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ballroom. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and would like to thank both TLC Book Tours and Alice Simpson for the chance to read and review this book!
When I initially read the synopsis and viewed the cover for Ballroom I was instantly intrigued. I fell in love with the cover and was interested in reading a book with interconnected narratives. I really enjoyed that the story is delivered to us through the interconnected stories. I think this made the narrative feel like a dance, with each character waltzing to the beat of their own music – the different perspectives pushing and pulling, sliding and spinning and coming together at the end in pretty surprising ways.
I really liked this book. I do wish there was a little more description of the ballroom itself, but I thought that the exploration of the character’s lives and their perceptions of each other was great. Some of the characters backgrounds and stories were so sad to me like that of Harry Korn, one of my favorite characters. I also really liked Maria and Sarah although I felt really bad for Sarah throughout the story as love and life in general have not been very kind to her. I do feel though that she is able to find happiness with her life, with herself towards the end of the story.
Dancing was my first love so I seemed to connect with the yearning that a lot of the characters had for dance. I feel like some of the characters danced for the pure joy of getting lost in the dance while others just fell into the habit of using it as a vehicle for making connections with people that wouldn’t be possible in another arena.
I loved it when the characters described their feelings about dancing in the ballroom and dancing with each other, it was all very real to me and reminded me that although we may see someone every day at work or the gym, sometimes we don’t really know their full story and what they are escaping in their home life by spending a few hours at their hobby. I just loved the feel of this book which Simpson accomplished to make feel both soft and gritty at the same time. I felt like the writing was graceful and seemed to enhance the special feel that I have come to expect from novels surrounding the topic of dance.
While Ballroom is not perfect, I did enjoy reading it and spending time with these characters. I enjoyed the delivery of the story and the way it was written so I gave it four out of five stars. General adult fiction readers or fans of books involving dance may enjoy this book.
Alice Simpson is an accomplished visual artist who has a profound passion for dance. Ballroom is her first novel. She lives in South Pasadena, California.