The Girl From the Paradise Ballroom: A Review


Arranged marriages were the norm as late the early twentieth century. You married within your race, city, and country. Heaven forbid you fall in love with someone outside of your ethnic circle. That’s exactly what happens to Antonio, a nightclub singer and dancer, Olivia. They meet in secret behind their spouses backs. There’s a war raging with Hitler in the lead, terrorizing and killing Jews and deporting all who don’t fit his mold.

Antonio is from an Italian family, who believe in keeping strong ties to one another and staying close by. Antonio meets Olivia outside of a dance hall, she in pain after having had an abortion. They don’t forget each other all throughout the war. Olivia’s husband, Bernard, helps Antonio improve his singing by paying for lessons. Antonio is married to a woman he loves but she doesn’t seem to share the same for him. His sister, Filomena, is betrothed to marry someone she has no love for. She stays single because she loves someone her family forbids her to marry, an Englishman. War makes survival the only goal in order to endure the castrophe it produces. For Antonio, singing in clubs and at special events was his way of managing and for Olivia, a marriage to someone was hers, their affair was never discovered although I think they’d be relieved it had been. Filomena eventually sees her lost love again after the war has ended. Antonio never does. Sad, tragic and unfair how others dictate how you live, and who will you love.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books, a division of Penguin/Random House.

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