Only 22, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born....
When her grandmother's will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life....
Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth is shocked to learn her adoptive parents, Graham and Prue Handley, have been killed....
Dawn Conners's parents are famous for finding historic treasures, but she has a knack for losing things - her job, her boyfriend, and now, her reputation....
Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they've just moved....
Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her first Egyptian adventure...
Sisters Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan live in separate wings of their crumbling Irish mansion. They haven’t spoken for decades, torn apart by a dark family secret from their past, and communicate only through the terse notes they leave for each other in the hallway.
Debbie, an American, is searching for her birth mother, hoping to discover who she really is and what happened to her.
With the bank threatening, Ella tries to save the family home by opening a café in the ballroom, much to Roberta’s disgust. And when Debbie offers to help out in the café, the war between the sisters intensifies. But then Debbie begins to unravel the truth....
Based. On facts but the storyline didn't quite hit the note with me
Maybe because I knew the facts
Rather boring , sorry to say
Sweet story but not particularly gripping. However, it is well written and interesting enough to make you want to finish it. The narrator is good but all the voices are rather shouty and manly which I found probably made me less into the book than had I read it. I felt Ella would have had a softer voice
I found this book unusual as it has some very surprising plot twists and turns, some of them are a bit disturbing too as you find yourself thinking 'could this really have happened?', especially if you've seen the film Philomena. I suppose it may be the mark of a good storyteller that she makes it all seem quite real and once you get absorbed by it, the storyline is unpredictable and that makes a nice change.
Although, I'm not sure about this narrator...I persevered with her and did begin to get used to her, by which point she didn't seem quite so strange! Worth it though for a good story.
What would have made The Ballroom Café better?
Take your pick - believable dialogue, less extreme story lines or less unlikely characters. Or it could have been shorter.
What was most disappointing about Ann O'Loughlin’s story?
The dialogue - I simply could not believe that real people would talk in the pretentious and convoluted way portrayed. The dialogue was not credible, let alone convincing or engaging
Would you be willing to try another one of Grainne Gillis’s performances?
God no. The dialogue was bad enough to begin with, but it was all too evident that Grainne was reading it off the page (as opposed to making it sound like spontaneous conversation). There were times when the reading was so dead and clunky that is spoiled whatever (small) enjoyment could be wrung from this book.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Ballroom Café?
Anything involving characters speaking to each other, as this never sounded convincing
Any additional comments?
There were some quite decent ideas behind the book and some story lines that probably looked plausible or even interesting when first presented, but it was all let down by the execution; both the detail of the writing and the awful stilted reading of it.