"A lovely first novel," Bestselling author Cathy Kelly.'
A warm and engaging story in a unique and original setting. I loved journeying through the lives of these fascinating characters. A beautifully drawn, skilfully written, well-researched novel.' --KATE KERRIGAN, New York Times bestselling author of The Ellis Island Trilogy
'A lovely story of two women with the courage to confront the injustices of the past, bringing light to a dark corner of Ireland s recent history.' --KATHLEEN MACMAHON, bestselling author of This Is How It Ends
Secrets and sisters combine to make The Ballroom Cafe one of the best reads for me this year. Once started I could not put Ann O’Loughlin’s book down.
The blurb tells you everything you need to know about this absorbing tale so I have little to add about the story, but I will say that a web of intrique is woven within this novel and every page is written with such brilliance that I read it in one sitting. My life was on hold for the day.
This tragic and profound read is both emotional and captivating.
Based on a true story, the horror of what happened to Ella and many women like her in Ireland at the time, is written with gentleness and Ann O’Loughlin cleverly portrays the feelings of all involved, even those who are at fault. More than once I felt the reality of what it was I was reading.
The Ballroom Cafe will enthrall and delight it’s reader and is one I highly recommend…. Now where can I buy a pretty brooch??
I adored The Ballroom Café which is a very touching story and will no doubt touch the hearts of many people across the world (and not just those with Irish connections) as it features the uncovering of an Irish adoption scandal.
It brings to mind Philomena and the scandal which has shocked people in recent years. However, at the same time this book is not really comparable to to Philomena; The Ballroom Café is so much more than just a story about adoption; it is a thought-provoking story of community, of love and loss, of hope and of friendship. I loved that the backdrop was based on true events, and you can read more about the Irish adoption scandal below.
I immediately felt like I belonged in this story which is set in County Wicklow, Ireland. Whilst heavily tinged with tragedy, there is a really light and buoyancy that radiates from this book. The characters are fabulous, whether that be the main characters or the supporting cast. I loved the relationship between the two sisters and the way they communicated only by short terse notes having not spoken for decades and I loved the way the various characters really touched each others lived.
The story is both intriguing and captivating. I was totally hooked and when the ending came, it was satisfying but there were some loose ends that left me craving more. My one and only complaint would be that the ending felt a little bit rushed, as though the editing sword had fallen a little to harshly in places. I wanted to bask in the ending and I wanted to know more.
I loved Ann O'Loughlin's style of writing, the words and chapters flowed perfectly which keeps you turning the pages and the characters are all excellently drawn to create the perfect story. I was shocked to discover that The Ballroom Café is Ann's debut book, as it feels like something from an extremely accomplished author; Ann's years of journalism and writing clearly shine through.
The Ballroom Café is out now in kindle format and paperback.
Thank you to Black & White Publishing for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
Kim The Bookworm
Sharing book reviews, news and author interviews with the world.
It was a superb read which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the character of Debbie who was so distraught and desperate to find out about her history before it was too late. I cannot even begin to imagine how such a trauma could affect a person. Not knowing your identity and such an important part of your life would pay a massive part of how you grew up and I seriously empathised with her every step of the way.
Ella and Roberta were such an interesting pair of sisters. Again a traumatic past and secrets that came out towards the end of the book had defined their lives and it was interesting to watch and see whether this would ever change. I loved the way that the relationship between Ella and Debbie developed throughout the book and I just got completely lost in this adorable building which was pictured so beautifully in my mind.
I really enjoyed Ann O’Loughlin’s writing style, which was very descriptive with excellent character and scene creation and I shall certainly be looking forward to reading more from her in the future.
A fine WordPress.com site
WOW WHAT A DEBUT NOVEL I CAN NOT PRAISE THIS BOOK ENOUGH IT JUST BRILLIANT YOU WILL LOVE IT
‘secret can’t last forever ‘ a very clever tag line
This book is so well written you will be transported into story I was hooked Ii read in two days
It a very through provoking story .All about love ,mystery ,loss,family hurt,pain and it concentrates on the forced illegal adoption of young children babies in Irish orphanages to the USA and what a powerful story it is
This book is set at Rosecubury Hall I fell in love with this place it had seen better days it was very run down it had very overgrown flower beds , fluky paint , mice , dust cobwebs and it had a wonderful fountain that was so in need of repair but the two sisters Ella and Roberta who lived there were on the brink of losing it all .Their parents has died and now they were left in debts
Ella decided to set up a cafe she love to bake she had help from her cousin Iris .It started with just a few tables but then they open ballroom too
On the first day it open Debbie was waiting for them to open
Elisa and Debbie seemed to get on so well she talks her in to helping out while she here she from the USA we hear Debbie story as flashbacks it a very heart wrenching to read my heart when out to her ( this was real it did happen ) it has been very well researched you could tell Ann had done a lot to tell the story like she has
I bet your wondering why Elia and Roberta never talked they just passed notes to each other well you got to read to see what happened and why the do not talk ? omg it was heartbreaking to read why I felt for them both for different reasons
All the characters were so interesting and seemed so real to me I enjoy the humour that each character brought to the story
Ella and Roberta behaviour made me smile it was so like what kids would done when not talking to you for telling them off.
I would love to visit this cafe and village it sounded so nice i could see it all in my head the way Ann described some of the jewellery was so clear you real could picture each special piece in your mind
I enjoy how the story flirts back between the past and now it gave the story and characters real depth it was so sad that young unmarried mothers in Ireland where forced to give up their babies as the catholic church nuns seem them unfit what horrible story they told them poor young girls it so heartbreaking to read but I found it so interesting too
I loved all the twists and turns it was just such a brilliant read I enjoyed how the mystery slowly unfolds and the twist at the end was good I nearly guess right did you?
Ann style of writing so easy to read it just flows along easily I like the way she brings a bit of humour into the way she writes in comes across in a nice gentle way it was a lovely book to read I was so enthralled by it I hope there another book I want to know more but it finished in just the right places I like how the characters grow or I should say got stronger as the story when on
This a very thought provoking book I just hope my review does it justice I can not praise this book enough I loved it so much
One of my top reads this year.