“The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom” by Alison Love is a novel of the love between Olivia, a British ballroom dancer and Antonio, an Italian singer. They meet by chance at the Paradise Ballroom, which is a not-so-nice club in London. This is in the days before the war with Germany is official. Rumors of war permeate the Soho area where Italian immigrants live. Mussolini has set up a Fascist government in Italy and a group is formed in London whose members are pro-fascism. Olivia is just trying to make her life better and when she meets Bernard, Antonio’s patron, she eventually marries him. Since her husband is Antonio’s patron and is providing singing tutoring for him, they meet again and a romance begins. Antonio has a pregnant wife and family, whose members are pro-Mussolini, and are therefore under the radar of the British government. When war is declared Britain rounds up all German and Italian men and sends them to internment camps. They are separated from their families and most do not know where they’ve been sent. Olivia and Antonio are of course separated as well. The rest of the novel deals with the consequences of the actions of Olivia, Antonio and their families during and after the war. If you enjoy reading about peoples’ loves and loyalties, you will really enjoy reading this novel.
I received a print copy of this book from BloggingforBooks.com in return for my honest review.