Ballroom by Alice Simpson is a series of interconnecting stories of six people who have something in common – every Sunday they dance at a New York City dance hall. Although the book takes place in 1999, the characters and the descriptions of the ballroom itself make the story seem more historic.
“Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives. Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, who—thanks in part to Harry’s instruction and encouragement—is one of the stars of Sunday nights at the Ballroom along with her partner, Angel Morez, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.”
The pasts of the six characters are revealed throughout the book and their connections with one another make their stories that much more interesting. The characters range in age from young to old and the book contains a sense of nostalgia related to their hobby of dance. While this isn’t the typical type of novel I read, I enjoyed the way the book was put together and the way the story was told.
What have you been reading lately?