The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom

ParadiseAuthor: Alison Love

Publisher: Crown

Release Date: April 19, 2016

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A story of forbidden love set in war torn England.

Olivia and Antonio have a chance encounter one night outside a London nightclub known as the Paradise Ballroom. When Antonio learns the truth about something that Olivia has just done, he is shocked, but has problems of his own to worry about.  He lives in Soho with his father, sister, brother, and his wife, who is about to have their first child.  As his brother and father pledge allegiance to the Fascists party for Mussolini, Antonio gets grief for not joining.  He is mostly interested in developing his singing career for a new patron.  At the first meeting, Antonio finds out that Olivia is his wife.  Scared that Antonio will tell her secrets to her husband, she tries to avoid Antonio at all costs.  She finds that she cannot and eventually learns that Antonio has secrets as well.

Overall, this was a really good romance set in World War II London. The setting was well depicted and the characters were adequately flawed (some even insufferable).  It’s good to have antagonist throughout the novel, but a couple of these characters I couldn’t wait to be rid of.  Even so, the relationships that they developed played out well.  There were definitely a couple of times that Love took me by surprise with what happened.  In those instances, she tapped into my emotion for the characters and it takes a talented story teller to do that.

However, I felt that there was a little bit of telling the reader the story instead of showing the reader the story. There were times that it told me something that the character being portrayed could not have known.  I wish that she would have let the character and reader figure that out together.  I also felt the pent up frustration between Olivia and Antonio was diminished too quickly.  Other than that, I thought it was a worth read.

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