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  • Location: Yorkshire Moors

The Ballroom

The Ballroom

Why a Booktrail?

1911: An asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors, and the unusual yet striking ballroom at the centre of it all.

  • ISBN: 978-0857521965
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

At first sight, an asylum is not the place where you would expect to find a ballroom. In fact in this asylum, it’s a rather tough and harsh world where men and women are kept apart, where walls an bars keep them in and the world outside away from them.

But one day a week, for one evening only, they are allowed into the ballroom, to dance and be free. This is where John and Ella meet and where a dance frees them in ways no one could have imagined.

Sharston Asylum is the unique and bleak setting in Yorkshire where the high walls and the grey stoned building is the inly scenery the people who are incarcerated here can see. Each of them has a story to tell – why they are here who they are.

Travel Guide

Anna Hope explains that this book was inspired by her Great Great Grandfather who was admitted to Menston Asylum in 1909 and died there in 1918. So from the moment the doors of this fictional asylum in the book open, the poignant veil of something more, reveals a hidden past.

Ella Fey came to the asylum following an incident at the mill where she worked. Like many women of her time, an outburst or standing up for herself is dismissed as hysteria. John Mulligan, given the job of digging graves in the place on account of his ‘melancholy’. Then there’s Dr Charles fuller who works there and is in charge of the weekly dances. Each of their voices shows a new side of the asylum. Dr Fuller for example is studying a increasingly popular subject – that of Eugenics – and will cause shivers when the line between sanity and madness start to blur.

Inside the asylum is a cold and hard place to be. The realisation that this is a well researched and realistic account of what went on in these places is shocking and raw. Those locked up are being ‘protected from themselves, each other and outsiders’ for no reason bigger than they find it hard to live in the real world…apparently.

“During his lectures, Pearson spoke of many things, but alongside the danger of the inferior man he spoke of the superior man and of the need for these superior men to populate the world”

The ballroom is their only escape, the only sign of normality, the one thing they can look forward to. Their voice echo on the clinical walls, their spirits locked inside, and not all of them should be there anyway.

This Yorkshire is hot, humid and the the winds across the Yorkshire Moors howl with injustice and madness. The Wilds of Wuthering heights country is awash with a sense of foreboding as the war rumbles ever nearer.

Booktrailer Review

Susan @thebooktrailer

Wow. Just wow. Very sad to read at times as you know from the outset that it is been inspired by real experiences. The setting just before the war is full of tension and foreboding as the world stand on the brink of normalcy and madness with WW1 just as that line is reflected in the asylum.

Anna Hope has achieved so much with this novel. It’s poignant, heavy like the hot summer, revealing and utterly sad.This novel reveals and looks at the role of asylums in the early 1900s, who went there and why, questions the motives of the staff and really looks at just where the real meaning of madness begins.

With mental health issues being in the news at the moment, I think this novel will speak to a lot of people and it reads like a song, a poem, a homage to anyone who ever had experience with one.

This novel will move you. I can still hear the music in the ballroom and it brings a tear to my eye.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:

Twitter: @Anna_Hope

Web: annahope.uk

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