Ballroom by Alice Simpson

For the last 20 years I have been part of a dance group- I’m not a professional dancer, its all recreational, but it is something that runs through my veins and I just can’t seem to stop attending classes. When TLC Book Tours had the book Ballroom available for review I jumped at the opportunity to read it.



Title: Ballroom
Author: Alice Simpson
Format: Paperback,
Source: Received from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Links:   Goodreads   |   Amazon   |   IndieBooks   |   Barnes & Noble 


From Goodreads

Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel—reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh—about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall

Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives.

Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.

As the rhythms of the Ballroom ebb and flow through these characters’ hearts, their fates come together in touching, unexpected ways.

About the Author

From Goodreads

Alice Simpson

As a child, I tangoed on my father’s feet to the songs of Gardel and Piazzolla, and it was then that dance crept into my bones and being. Later in life, I returned to dance again—in ballrooms, at milongas, and in the moonlight on barges floating on the Hudson River.
The Ballroom of my novel is a shabby place, having existed longer than time should have allowed. Under the spin of the mirrored ball, those who want to be held, to dance, and pretend there is love in their lives return each Sunday night. Neither Dancing with the Stars nor Saturday Night Fever—it’s only a ballroom past its prime, where characters are confronted with universal concerns of existence—meaning, love, loss and the inescapability of age.

Alice Simpson, a visual artist, also taught at F.I.T, SVA, Parsons. Her artist books and sculptures about dance are internationally exhibited, and part of Special Collections at Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, NY, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and The Victoria & Albert Museum. She is frequently invited to speak—about the influence of dance in her work.

BALLROOM’s first four chapters received second place award for fiction in 2013 at the SF Writers Conference. A chapter from “Ballroom” was nominated by The Writer’s Voice (NY) for Best New American Voices. Chapters have appeared in WV (Writer’s Voice Magazine, NY), Words & Images Journal (U. of Maine), TangoDanza Magazine (Berlin), and a limited edition, Tango Bar.”

Links: Website   |   Facebook 

My Review

Ballroom by Alice Simpson was a very well written book- although the story isn’t overly complex, the interwoven story lines along with the multi-dimensionality of the characters helps to create a wonderful story that any one- dancers and non-dancers alike can fall into. I found the characters easy to relate to, and not because I understand the dance world, their lives outside of the dancing world also helped me to relate the characters. I could completely relate to the dancers as they waited for the next ballroom event and yearned to be on the dance floor- I myself experience this every time I am waiting for the next dance practice or concert.

I really enjoyed the interconnecting stories of these characters- its interesting to see how the lives of different characters (or even people) are interconnected in small ways. I also enjoyed the fact that this book was based in the late 1990’s, which added another dimension to the story.

I always find it interesting to see where authors get inspiration for their stories, and enjoyed the fact that Alice was also bitten by the dance bug at a young age. I love that she was able to put her love of dance into a book and share it with the world.

Overall I thought that this was a really well written book with interesting characters. It didn’t wow me to the point of being a 5 hippo book, but I did enjoy it, so I give it:

3.5 out of 5


Thank you to

tlc logo


For allowing me to participate in this tour.




7 thoughts on “Ballroom by Alice Simpson

  1. Pingback: Alice Simpson, author of Ballroom, on tour September 2014 | TLC Book Tours

  2. Hi Hippo,
    Thanks for your positive review of BALLROOM. Yes, getting ready to go to dance is an important part of the experience—the dress that moves the right way when you’re in motion, shoes that make your legs look great, make-up that will last the night. Waiting to be asked to dance isn’t easy when you want to be on the dance floor, especially when the DJ’s playing your favorite song. And most of all dancing with “that” special person. Pleased that you were interested in the characters, flawed as they are with their longings to belong—to be loved. I wondered having written such a positive review, why you wrote in the last sentence that you “didn’t really enjoy it.”
    Still dancing,

  3. Thanks so much for letting me know, as I like to share good reviews like yours. Seems to me that some readers reconsider their thinking when they respect what someone else points out. And yes, those tech things can turn words upside-down. I like to play with words when I write emails, and the spellcheck just won’t let me.

    P.S. Why do you call yourself “hippo”?

  4. I enjoyed the setting of the novel as well; it suited the story perfectly. Interconnected story collections are amongst my favourite books, and I like the connections and disconnections (!) between this set of characters.

  5. Hi Hippo-Just a quick note of thanks for editing your initial review! Your opinions influence your readers.
    Have just returned from meeting with my first book group in San Francisco, and really enjoyed discussing the characters in BALLROOM with them. Despite that their lives are very different from those in my novel, thIs group of ten were surprisingly willing to talk about periods of loneliness. Interesting to me was that once one person shared about personal times of sadness or feeling disconnected, others were better able to speak of their own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s