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The Ballroom
by Anna hope | Literature & Fiction
Registered by wingPlum-crazywing of Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on 11/8/2017
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status (set by Plum-crazy): travelling


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1 journaler for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingPlum-crazywing from Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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England, 1911. At Sharston Asylum, men and women are separated by thick walls and barred windows. But on Friday nights, they are allowed to mingle in the asylum's magnificent ballroom. From its balconies and vaulted ceilings to its stained glass, the ballroom is a sanctuary. Onstage, the orchestra plays Strauss and Debussy while the patients twirl across the gleaming dance floor.

Amid this heady ambience, John Mulligan and Ella Fay first meet. John is a sure-footed dancer with a clouded, secretive face; Ella is as skittish as a colt, with her knobby knees and flushed cheeks. Despite their grim circumstances, the unlikely pair strikes up a tenuous courtship. During the week, he writes letters smuggled to her in secret, unaware that Ella cannot read. She enlists a friend to read them aloud and gains resolve from the force of John's words, each sentence a stirring incantation. And, of course, there's always the promise of the ballroom.

Then one of them receives an unexpected opportunity to leave Sharston for good. As Anna Hope's powerful, bittersweet novel unfolds, John and Ella face an agonizing dilemma: whether to cling to familiar comforts or to confront a new world - living apart, yet forever changed.


 


Journal Entry 2 by wingPlum-crazywing at Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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This is a beautifully written tale which manages to be both heart-warming & heart-breaking.

At times it's a moving, tender love story & at others, the tension building had me on the edge of my seat wondering what cruelty would be inflicted next. The characters are
believable enough with John & Ella's tale staying sweet without straying into twee & retaining an air of innocence. However, other passions are running high, namely those of Dr Fuller who is fighting feelings he can't/won't accept, & of course there's the obligatory baddie in the guise of the nasty Brandt - luckily the writer manages to avoid turning him into a stereotypical villain.

The claustrophobic atmosphere of the wards & women's work is well conveyed, especially as by contrast some of the men are allowed the relative freedom of outdoor work. An awful place indeed for those who shouldn't have ever been placed there. Let's not forget, how shocking it is to think that people were treated in this way just 100 years ago & the idea that...& I quote..."..excessive reading has been shown to be dangerous to the female mind", is frankly incredible to me. Can you imagine not being allowed to read? *AAARGGH*...no, me neither...........

Overall a really good read, though with, I have to say, a rather obvious ending, yet one which is so fitting that it really couldn't have ended any other way & so it's predictability is forgiven :o)
 


Journal Entry 3 by wingPlum-crazywing at Tescos in Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, November 16, 2017

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Released 2 days ago (11/16/2017 2:00 PM UTC) at Tescos in Brighouse, West Yorkshire United Kingdom

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Added to the fund raising bookshelf

Released as part of the NOVEMBER "THE" CHALLENGE (#16)



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