I received this free from the publishers via NetGalley
The year is 1911, the location is an asylum on the Yorkshire moors. Both male and female patients are separated, except for on a Friday evening when they are allowed to come together in the ballroom for a weekly dance. This is where Ella and John meet, and they grow close, dreaming of escape.
I read Anna Hope’s other novel Wake a couple of years ago and I really loved it. The Ballroom escaped my attention but I managed to request it on NetGalley and I thought The Ballroom was just as good as Wake. Both really well researched and well written historical fiction novels that kept me turning the pages and made me care about the characters.
I really loved the Yorkshire setting – I thought it was very original as we don’t come across that setting very often. Also, I loved the working class female character, Ella, and the Irishman, John. I loved their relationship. While it was sort of insta-lovey, I felt like their relationship developed well and I was really rooting for them. While the romance featured fairly heavily, it actually did not take away from the story. Charles was also an interesting character – albeit highly unlikable.
The Ballroom showed the dark, unsettling and scary truth of asylums – and how easy it was to be admitted to an asylum – and the eugenics movements in England. Definitely recommend.
Overall, a really intense and thought provoking novel, which is beautifully written with exceptional characters.
MY RATING: ★★★★☆