Stacey (prettybooks)'s Reviews > The Ballroom

The Ballroom by Anna Hope
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really liked it
bookshelves: adult-fiction, read-in-my-twenties

I've always been slightly fascinated by asylums – how easy it is to get committed, how difficult it is to get out, what defines mental illness and the blurry line between "sane" and "insane". Asylums are a common appearance in horror stories, but they were a genuine horror for the people who had to stay in them.

The Ballroom is set in Sharston, an asylum located on the edge of the Yorkshire moors in the early 1900s. We hear from John Mulligan and Ella Fay – who meet and dance in the asylum's elegant ballroom, a privilege provided to well-behaved patients – and Charles Fuller, a doctor who writes and researches the eugenics movement. Charles proposes that music therapy can improve the lives of patients, or the "feeble-minded" – until the reader begins to believe that Charles may be the only one who truly belongs at Sharston.

The Ballroom is incredibly compelling and one of the few adult novels I've had the chance to read this year. John and Ella's developing romance is heartbreaking, as is the life of Clem, a bookish friend that Ella in her dorm. Eerie, bleak historical fiction that somehow still manages to leave you hoping.

Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
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Reading Progress

December 5, 2015 – Shelved
December 5, 2015 – Shelved as: ebooks-to-read
December 5, 2015 – Shelved as: adult-fiction
June 12, 2016 – Started Reading
June 12, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-my-twenties
June 13, 2016 –
June 15, 2016 –
26.0% "I'm really enjoying this and loving all the characters and the unusual setting!"
June 17, 2016 –
June 21, 2016 –
June 24, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Great little review, Stacey. This is a book I remain very eager to get my hands on.

message 2: by Cheyenne (new) - added it

Cheyenne I'm dying to read this but my library doesn't have it! It seems good enough to buy though, so maybe I'll give it a shot.

Stacey (prettybooks) Thank you, Mike! And Cheyenne, I'm not entirely sure it's published in the US yet? I might be wrong!

Alicia Marie I just started reading this (as a US ARC) and I'm really liking it! It's set for publication Sept of this year in the US.

Stacey (prettybooks) Great! :)

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