Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No affiliate links were used in this post.
Publisher: Broadway Books
The first meeting between Antonio and Olivia at the Paradise Ballroom is brief, but electric.
Years later, on the dawn of World War II, when struggling Italian singer Antonio meets the wife of his wealthy new patron, he recognizes her instantly: it is Olivia, the captivating dance hostess he once encountered in the seedy Paradise Ballroom. Olivia fears Antonio will betray the secrets of her past, but little by little they are drawn together, outsiders in a glittering world to which they do not belong. At last, with conflict looming across Europe, the attraction between them becomes impossible to resist–but when Italy declares war on England, the impact threatens to separate them forever.
The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is a story of forbidden love and family loyalties amid the most devastating war in human history.
The synopsis of this book does it a huge disservice, because it doesn’t really fit the book at all. Yes, everything in the description is part of the book, but it’s such a small part of the book, so if you read this thinking this the story you’ll be reading, you’ll be disappointed.
This book is actually about an Italian family (Antonio’s) living in England during WWII. Olivia is a constant presence throughout the novel, but not necessarily with Antonio, which is another reason why I think the synopsis really doesn’t do much for the book. I didn’t really care about them as a couple. I didn’t think there was enough interaction between them to really captivate my attention.
I enjoy family sagas, however I find they tend to drag on a little long for my liking, and this one didn’t. The author didn’t get bogged down in a lot of details, which allowed the story to move at a decent clip. I also liked that she separated different sections by time, which also helped the story move along and was helpful in terms of keeping track of time.
I’ve read a lot of WWII fiction and this was a different perspective, which I also really enjoyed. I loved the characters as well. I didn’t feel like I had a chance to get to know them as much as I would have liked, but I like it when the characters are practically my best friends when the novel is over. I really enjoyed reading about them, though. There were a lot of fascinating characters.
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