At Christmas, we love bringing you books you can curl up with and relax in between the stress of the festivities and family visits. 

And this is one of them. It’s the second book of The Ballroom Girls series, but you can easily start here. It doesn’t take long to develop a soft spot for the girls. 

The Ballroom Girls

You get into the spirit of things as Pearl prepares for her wedding. In 1942, it feels like there can’t be much joy in the air, and yet you instantly feel drawn in by the simple pleasures the characters relish in: saving enough food rations to have a feast after the wedding, having music so people can dance and celebrate, and Pearl living the magical moment of trying on her wedding dress. 

It is nothing compared to the stress such an event represents today, and the simplicity is exactly what we need right now. 

Things become complicated for all three girls and the beauty of this storyline is that each of them battle with different problems: There are the obvious ones of the war, and Pearl’s husband being called up to war and later being MIA, but also family obligations (for Joy) and career choices (for Sylvia). 

The uplifting part is, of course, the dance, but also the cultural references that remind us what time we are in, especially when it comes to Sylvia’s dance styles. Because back then, the jive and jitterbug were still new!

We may have gotten the tissues out a couple of times, but needless to say we wouldn’t be recommending this to you if it didn’t have a happy ending – it is Christmas after all. 

So worry not, while it may not look like it at some points, and while it may not be quite the ending you expected, there is a happy ending to make your holiday season sweet. 

The Ballroom Girls: Christmas Dreams, by Jenny Holmes; published September 2023 by Transworld. ISBN: 978-1529176544

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