17 June 2009

Book Review: The Ballroom Class by Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon - The Ballroom ClassAngelica loves to dance, so when she returns home to Longhampton, she decides she will teach a ballroom dancing class at the local dance hall. As a former World Class dancer, Angelica is sure she can turn the town's residents into the next Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. But are her class up for the challenge? And are all they all dancing to the same tune, or entirely different ones?

Lauren and Chris, engaged to be married, are finding preparing for their wedding harder than they thought. Lauren wants a fairytale, but Chris just wants it over with. Lauren's parents Bridget and Frank are very happily married and proud of their daughter, but Bridget is hiding a secret which is eating her up inside. Finally, Katie and Ross have marital woes, Katie resents going out to work while Ross gets all day with their two children, Hannah and Joe. Can the music bring all the couples closer together and heal the rifts, or is it too late for them all?

As a fan of dancing shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, the recommendation on the front and inside few pages from Arlene Phillips, judge of Strictly, pleased me and made me think that this would definitely be one for those of us who love to watch dancing shows. I found Dillon has written a book here with a great insight into the world of dance, although perhaps not as much as would be suggested by the title and cover of the book. I would have liked to have a lot more about Angelica's life as a dancer, and the short parts where the book flashes back to this time are too few and far between for me!

The dancing which occurs in the book is good, but isn't anything overly special. She does use a bit of technical language, but for those of us who don't understand it, don't worry as it is explained. Because of the characters, most of the dancing is very simple and you almost learn the dances along with them which I think made it a fun read. It did make me want to jump up off my seat and do a little box-step for myself a few times, but I managed to restrain myself! The great description of the dance nights held at the hall, the costumes and music did bring it all to life in a wonderful way, and I so much wanted to be there with them.

Dillon's characters are all well-written, and you can see feel compassion for all of them, despite their individual circumstances. I found myself caring for all of them, and wanting them to all work it out and be happy! I particularly felt for Katie who was struggling as a working mum, and I can only imagine how hard it was for her to leave her children. The relationship between her and Ross was so well written, you do feel like a fly on the wall in their home, which shows how good Dillon's writing is! The other characters were just as enjoyable, with Lauren and Chris' mad wedding plans coming to life and Bridget's inner turmoil affecting all parts of her life. Of course, I can't not mention Angelica, the dance teacher, and her story is an intriguing one! Her story gets revealed as the book goes on, and this little mystery is enough to keep you reading up until the end! Brilliantly done by Dillon.

This is a novel that really gets to grips with human relationships, their ups and downs, but of course love that will get you through anything, as long as that love is there. As well as the woes, there are plenty of laughs courtesy of Lauren and mother-in-law Irene's elaborate wedding plans, and these two never failed to make me smile! The dancing element really served to bring all of the characters together in one place, and to develop the individual storylines, and I loved the dancing scenes. They were so well written, you could clearly visualise that big old Glitterball on the hall ceiling, and the swishy dresses they wore for the classes! A really wonderful piece of escapist reading, a definite much for not just fans of dance, but also for those who love a fantastic read! For a debut novel, this is superb.

Rating: 5/5

1 comment:

  1. Have only just got a copy of this book, after reading her other books and loving them thought I would give it a go. Am looking forward to reading