Review: The Ballroom by Anna Hope

The BallroomThe Blurb

By the acclaimed author of WAKE:

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
and dance.
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.

The Review

I had heard so many great things about The Ballroom from other bloggers that I was determined to get my hands on a copy of the book. Fortunately, NetGalley was on hand to let me be privy to a review copy. Excitedly, I read the first chapter – eager to devour this story that I had read so many good things about.

The story of The Ballroom is a historical novel based on a mental asylum in Yorkshire. It focuses on the lives of certain inmates and doctors and the medical practices of the time. Not only does Hope deliver and interesting story, the amount of historical accuracy and research is really impressive to create a very real and very frightening picture of life in an asylum during the early 20th century. However, I found myself drifting quite easily. At 352 pages, I should have finished The Ballroom in a couple of days – a week at most if I am busy but I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm to read this book. I wasn’t hooked; I wasn’t enthralled which is a shame because the writing of The Ballroom is very good.

I really wanted to love this book. I honestly did but I felt that the pacing was too slow; the first half of the book could have been shortened. I just didn’t feel the pull to pick the book up and get lost in the world. It did not grab me. That is not to say that The Ballroom isn’t well written, it is – the characters are interesting and the story is intriguing in a horrific way. I was shocked by the historical elements regarding mental health legislation and what was suggested happen to those who suffered with mental health issues. That was truly shocking. I do believe that the story of The Ballroom is good it is just that the pacing did not work for me or manage to hold my attention.

The Ballroom by Anna Hope is available now.

3 Stars

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