My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Our first Traveling Sisters Group Review by Brenda, Norma, Lindsay, Susanne and JanB!
Our first pick for our Traveling Sisters Group Read was THE BALLROOM by ANNA HOPE and we all thought that it was the perfect book choice as we were all riding on the same emotional train with this one.
THE BALLROOM by ANNA HOPE is a shocking, haunting, unforgettable, and a painful historical fiction novel that was beautifully written and made for some really great discussions along the way for us.
ANNA HOPE opens up a part of the past and took us into the walls of an asylum, giving voices to the patients that lived there. She does a great job at defining what was considered “mad” from the past which was often a result or reaction to the outside world or the person’s situation in their environment along with giving a voice to a character with an illness.
ANNA HOPE sets the tone perfectly here and skillfully develops her characters. The story is told in three different points of views of our main characters Charles, Ella and John. We all loved their points of view and found each of them intriguing, believable, and compelling which doesn’t always happen with multiple points of view for us. The character of Clem stole our hearts and became the heart of the novel for us and her character didn’t even have her own POV. We found that aspect of the novel to be a very interesting choice of ANNA HOPE in the way that she portrayed Clem’s voice within the storyline. That is something I would love to ask her about. We see some of them grow and some of them destruct allowing us to feel anger, compassion and heartbreak.
We found Charles to be the most complicated and interesting character who sparked most of our conversations and had us feeling angry and sad all at the same time. His self doubt, denial and obsessions gave us a good understanding of his inner struggles along with his feelings with what he considered to be right and for the better. As the story progresses we see how all that changes him. The ironic twist to Charles character was brilliant of ANNA HOPE.
Clem’s character touched us the most and she became such an important character to us and the story. We all loved her and she brought on the most emotions from us. She left our hearts feeling warm and heartbroken at the same time. She will be a character we will remember and think of often.
In the end it really had us thinking about the terrible things people can do when they believe they are doing good and not realizing the damage it causes. I guess maybe that is why sometimes looking into the past can be a window into the future.
The ending has us feeling a bit differently towards it in some ways. Some of us thought it felt a bit unlikely and for others it was touching, hopeful, and moving. In the end we all agreed that the world is full of some remarkable coincidences at time. This left us feeling completely satisfied with the ending. Highly recommend.