The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love: A Book Review


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.

My Review:

I can’t recall if I’ve ever read a book set during World War II, but I definitely enjoyed the setting of this book as well as the perspective. I love historical fiction, but I prefer if a book focuses more on the characters and uses the historical aspect as more of a backdrop. I feel like this book did a pretty good job of that.

There were, however moments that dragged for me, and were just a little dull. Other than that, the story held my interest and the characters were well-developed. I really liked the characters of Olivia and Antonio, but I felt sorry for them. Their story seemed so tragic. In actuality, I believe at the heart of the story, was Filomena. I know this book was primarily about Olivia and Antonio, but I really loved the character of Filomena. She was strong and smart and loving. Her story with Stan was what captivated me most in this book.

In a lot of ways, this book was quite beautiful, but I don’t feel like it was as captivating as it set out to be. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it will stay with me for a long time to come.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.



ALISON LOVE’s short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and in 2013 her story Sophie Stops the Clock was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. Alison has worked in the theater, television, and public relations. The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is her American fiction debut.

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