Sep 162014


Ballroom by Alice Simpson

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper (September 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062323032
ISBN-13: 978-0062323033

Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel—reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh—about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall

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, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.

As the rhythms of the Ballroom ebb and flow through these characters’ hearts, their fates come together in touching, unexpected ways.


The characters in this book are varied in age, from the young to the not so young. Each of them are connected because they each spend Sunday evening dancing at the ballroom. Each have their own desires and problems, and they want to find someone that will fulfill a void in their lives.

I thought the stories in this book were interesting, but some were a little to “descriptive” for my taste if you know what I mean. I was interested in the characters and wanted to see how the story ended for each of them, but I never really felt a bond with them like I wanted to feel. The writing is good so that kept me wanting to keep reading.

Each chapter is titled by one of the characters names, the first one being Harry Korn. Is that a great name or what? Also, at the beginning of each chapter is a ballroom or dance quote. Chapter 1 like I said is Harry Korn (just wanted to say his name again) and the quote is:

The dancing-master should be in the highest sense of the term a gentleman; he should be thoroughly schooled in the laws of etiquette; he should be a man of good moral character; he should be a physiologist; he should be a reformer.

Thomas E. Hill, Evils of the Ball, 1883


While I enjoyed this book, I wanted the book to make me “feel” more than I did. Still, I would recommend this to anyone who finds the blurb interesting, and would read more from this author.

Here is the link for Ballroom on Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.

Alice-SimpsonAlice Simpson can be reached through her website or Facebook.
Here’s the tour schedule

 Posted by at 11:52 PM

  4 Responses to “Review: Ballroom by Alice Simpson”

  1. […] Wednesday, September 17th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach […]

  2. I’m glad that you enjoyed the writing and will look for other books by Simpson in the future.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. […] 15th: Kritters Ramblings Tuesday, September 16th: BookNAround Wednesday, September 17th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach Thursday, September 18th: Walking With Nora Friday, September 19th: Not in Jersey Tuesday, […]

  4. I really enjoyed the way that themes echoed through the stories, not too obviously, but subtly drawing connections between people’s experiences. Like you, I thought the writing was well handled too.

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