*** The Ballroom by Anna Hope

The Ballroom is a love story that takes place in an insane asylum at the beginning of the 20th Century. Of course, in those days perfectly sane people could be locked up for years, whether they were depressed, destitute, or uppity (special category for women here) and the story focuses on two mentally healthy people who happened to behave badly, once, and did not have anyone to protect them from institutionalization. Their romance is thwarted by a sadistic medical attendant who fervently believes in eugenics but may be the character with the most psychological issues, at least in the context of the times when certain behaviors were thought to be aberrant. Don’t expect happy endings, but what a beautiful story with a meaningful historical context that the author manages to always keep behind the plot.

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