The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom


I recently received from The Library Thing, The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom (B+) by Alison Love a World War II novel with a slightly different approach.

Antonio Trombetta and several members of his family have moved from Lazio, Italy to London. His dad leases a kiosk where he sells candy and tobacco; his sister Filomena works at the local laundry. Antonio is in pursuit of a singing career. His beautiful voice has allowed him to supplement the family income by singing in local restaurants and bars. While working one night at the Paradise Ballroom, he meets Olivia, a dancer. Though married and expecting his first child, Antonio falls hopelessly in “forbidden” love with her.

As the novel develops, the atmosphere in Europe and especially in London begins to change. War is inevitable. Hitler and Mussolini are both aggressively stomping around Europe. In London, foreigners are now all under suspicion and eventually those with leanings toward the fascist movement are removed from their homes and families and held captive.

Historical fiction, yet mostly a love story, The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is entertaining. The complicated love affair between Antonio and Olivia is the main attraction with supporting stories from other family members and world events.

I have felt lately that the market is a bit saturated with novels about World War II; however, there was something that caught my eye and attention in The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom. I honestly enjoyed the novel more than I expected and hope that you will be surprised by it as well. The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is definitely one to check out.


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