Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Ballroom - Book Review

I fell in love with Anna Hope's debut novel Wake (read my review *here*) so when I saw that she had a new novel coming out this year, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it. Hope just has the most lovely way of writing.

There is a beautiful ballroom in the center of the asylum in the English countryside. Though the men and women patients are generally kept separated, once a week they have a dance and meet in the ballroom. It is in the ballroom that Ella and John foster their forbidden relationship that blossoms through exchanged letters and tender words.

Though convinced that music can help his patients, Dr. Charles Fuller becomes obsessed with the idea of and ethics behind eugenics. In the middle of the intense heatwave of 1911 and in a world of madness, the line of sanity becomes blurred.

Usually books or movies set in asylums have the undertones of horror and fear. While I occasionally enjoy that genre, I was pleased that The Ballroom by Anna Hope focused more on the hopes and dreams of the patients. Instead of being a fantastical thriller, the undertones of evil and ill intent in The Ballroom are realistic and therefore horrifying that some of these ideas and theories still exist.

I love how Hope gets into the heads of her characters, allowing the readers to experience their disillusionment and their realities. They are unique and dynamic and absolutely fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel even as found parts of it very disturbing. Though The Ballroom is set over a hundred years ago, it offers much to think about as we consider how we treat those with mental illness today.

The Ballroom by Anna Hope is published by Random House and released on September 6, 2016.

**I received a complimentary copy of The Ballroom. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**

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