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The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom

A Novel

Alison Love


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The epic love story of an Italian singer and a British dancer, set against the backdrop of war-torn England

Antonio and Olivia meet only for a brief moment, but the electricity between them is breathtaking. He is a struggling Italian singer; she is a captivating dance hostess at London’s seedy Paradise Ballroom.

Months later, as World War II dawns, they unexpectedly meet again. Olivia’s fortunes have changed, and she is now the wife of Antonio’s wealthy new patron. She fears Antonio will betray the secrets of her past, but little by little they are drawn together, outsiders in a glittering, rarefied world of tradition and class to which neither of them truly belongs. At last, with the threat of an unimaginable conflict looming across Europe, the attraction between them becomes impossible to resist—but when Italy declares war on England, the political and emotional impact threatens to separate them forever.

Heart-wrenching and compulsively readable, The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is a dazzling story of forbidden love and family loyalties set amid history’s most devastating war.

Praise For The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom: A Novel

“[A] sweeping novel that explores humanity, family loyalty, and national prejudice in the face of war… a wonderful read.”—Historical Novels Review 

“Lusciously told . . . Truly engrossing . . . Throughout, Love effectively examines the clash of class and nationality while offering a distinctive historical portrait. Readers of love-touched historicals and those wanting to chew on big issues will both be satisfied.”Library Journal

“A period romance built on several layers of love stories…. Love's research into the suffering of less-well-documented wartime figures and the messiness of the postwar period lends credible sadness to her narrative, underpinning both the central love story and other affairs of the heart. Dodging many predictabilities, the story reaches an appealing conclusion in 1947, with mature choices for its mingled Italian and British cast. In keeping with her name, Love delivers a satisfying romantic tale enhanced by its bittersweet aftertaste.”Kirkus Reviews

Broadway Books, 9781101904510, 336pp.

Publication Date: April 19, 2016

About the Author

Alison Love’s short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and in 2013 her story Sophie Stops the Clock was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. Alison has worked in the theater, television, and public relations. The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is her American fiction debut.