the ballroom by anna hope
published: september 6th 2016
genres & keywords: adult, historical, romance
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
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.
.:: RATING 4 STARS ::.
… consider me committed.
And there’s all sorts of ridiculousness on there.
Politics, masturbation for 30 years, deranged masturbation, surpassed masturbation (you obviously can’t win), bad company, bad whiskey, women trouble, female disease (men trouble/male disease clearly nonexistent), asthma. Fucking asthma. I think I laughed myself stupid until I realized this was real.
Being good was outside only. It didn’t matter about the inside. That was something they could never know.
A love story set in an asylum in 1911 was a story that instantly appealed to me. I don’t know what it is, call it a morbid fascination, but I love nitty-gritty things like that. Anna Hope did a great job of convincing me they were in an asylum during 1911. I mean, I don’t know exactly how accurate it was, but it seemed entirely plausible and that was good enough for me.
She’d heard of it. Since she was small. If you ever did anything stupid: the asylum.
If you every did anything stupid.
It’s scary to see how easily it was to be committed. If you were trouble, if you were unwanted, if you were considered “unfit for society” , you were gone. Seemingly as simple as that.
What else was scary? Talk of eugenics.
The way its described, its theory, makes some king of warped, perverse sense. Until you realize you’re talking about actual human beings. And just look at that list. Can you imagine being institutionalized and experimented on because you READ NOVELS. Or have asthma. Sometimes, I’m incredibly impressed by humans. By our determination to survive, and create, and become. And then, I’m incredibly unimpressed by our sheer stupidity.
With that being said, Charles was probably the most interesting character in the story. His disillusionment in his hopeful ideas, his evolution into something quite terrifying, was both a source of horror and fascination.
Charles knew, this future was clean, unsullied and ready to be carved.
All one needed was a sharp enough knife.
The love story was a little Notebook-esque, but in the best way possible. In the way that makes my mother cry every time she watches it. The letters and the stolen moments really make for impactful ending.
For about half of the story, The Ballroom was stuck in 3-star territory. It was pleasant enough, but nothing I felt I would really remember years later. Well, I underestimated the story. That ending left me with tears in my eyes and a tightness in my chest. It was so beautiful and so, so bittersweet.
She stared at the book in her hands. “When I go to university,” she said, “if I write an essay about it, then I’ll talk about the ending. How I want it to be different. But how it’s still the right ending after all.”