I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love
Publication Date: Apr. 19, 2016
Setting: England, Italy
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“3* – I Liked It! – The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom explores the Italian immigrant experience living in England and the forbidden love stories between Italians and English during WWII.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“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. “
As the daughter of Indian immigrants and a fan of traveling the world in books, I’m fascinated by stories about the immigrant experience. I enjoyed The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love for its exploration of Italians living in England when WW2 erupts and changes everyone forever.
Antonio is an honorable man who tries to provide for his family by working in the family business and is an aspiring singer at night. When he meets Olivia, a dancer at the Paradise Ballroom, he’s haunted by her face and what happened during their brief but intense meeting.
Driven by his duty and his sense of family honor, Antonio carries on with his life as he thinks he ought. He’s the rock and the sensible foundation that supports his sister, brother and father. Throughout the story, we learn about the cultural expectations resting on his shoulders, what a “good” and “patriotic” Italian would do.
But being a “good Italian” means compromising his own beliefs on what is right. The discrimination and hostility between the English citizens and Italian immigrants worsens when WW2 breaks out. I am a sucker for the good guys in books and I was rooting for Antonio as he faced his harrowing decisions between love, family and country.
Olivia captivated Antonio at their first meeting and he could never quite forget about her. Married to a wealthy man, Bernard, Olivia’s story centers around the secret that Antonio knows. She feels as if her house of cards will come tumbling down if her husband finds out and she’ll be back to dancing in seedy nightclubs.
Olivia feels trapped in the life she created and when she sees herself through Antonio’s eyes, she finally beings to feel free. I was not sure if Olivia was worthy of Antonio’s or Bernard’s devotion. She was more of an enigmatic creature that had both men captivated and she knew how to get what she wanted from them.
Overall, I enjoyed The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom for exploring the Italian immigrant experience living in England but I wanted more of the love stories to balance out the tribulations of war.
TLC Book Tour:
Stop by the TLC Blog Tour Page to see other bloggers’ reviews of The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom.
TLC Book Tours is letting me give away one copy of The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom! Thanks for entering and good luck!
1. Must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. Must be a resident of US or Canada.
3. Prize will be shipped by TLC Book Tours or the publisher.
4. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond with mailing address. If a response is not received in time, another winner will be chosen.
5. Giveaway ends 5/9/16 at 11:59pm EST.
6. The winner will be contacted via email and has 48 hours to respond and accept the prize or another winner will be chosen.
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The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar Review, Discussion Questions & Printable (Asian Indians in the present day US)
Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt (Germans living in the US during WWI)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Domicans living in present day US)
Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen, 5*, one of my favorites!
What books have you read about the immigrant experience, that take place during WWII or are about forbidden love? Tell me, I love hearing from you about what you’re reading! As always, happy reading!