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The Phoenix Ballroom

The Phoenix Ballroom, June 2024
by Ruth Hogan

William Morrow Paperbacks
Featuring: Venetia Hargreaves
320 pages
ISBN: 0063348748
EAN: 9780063348745
Kindle: B0CHW6GM46
Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
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"A Feel Good Novel of Courage and Redemption"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Phoenix Ballroom
Ruth Hogan

Reviewed by Susan Dyer
Posted June 11, 2024

Fantasy Magical Realism | Women's Fiction Friendship

I have finally read my first Ruth Hogan story.  In THE PHOENIX BALLROOM, we are introduced to recently widowed Venetia Hamilton Hargreaves. Poor Venetia is left with a huge house, a bank balance just as huge and trying to figure out what she has done for the last fifty years. Her overbearing son, Heron, wants to hire a Granny Nanny for her and Venetia is none too happy.  She is only 74 and feels it's time for a complete makeover.

Reluctantly, Venetia does hire one of the nannies named Liberty Bell.  This turns out to be one of the best decisions she has ever made.  Not only is Liberty a big help to Venetia, but she also becomes a very good friend.  When Venetia decides to buy the run-down ballroom in town, Liberty steps up for her. Liberty has also just lost her mother and the way these two women help each other is so amazing.  There is so much humor in this story, especially with the dialogue from Venetia's grandson, Kite!  You will find yourself chuckling out loud and maybe even snorting a few times.  That is exactly what happened to me! 

THE PHOENIX BALLROOM  tugged on my heart and had me crying many times.  Ruth Hogan squeezed my heart and never let go until the very last page.  She had my emotions all over the place and I had a hard time putting this wonderful story down.  I tried to read THE PHOENIX BALLROOM slowly to make it last, but it was impossible.  I had to know what was going to happen to Venetia and Kite.  I kept thinking that this story should be made into a movie that comes with a tissue alert!  This is a story that is going to stay with me for a long long time.   I'm excited to read more by Ruth Hogan as she knows how to pull her readers in and make them fall in love with her heart-tugging characters. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Fresh Fiction. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

Learn more about The Phoenix Ballroom

SUMMARY

From the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things: a heartfelt and inspiring story about a wealthy widow who revives a beloved famous local landmark—and restores joy and sparkle to her own life in the process.

It’s never too late to start dancing again...

For fifty years, Venetia Hargreaves’s world revolved around her husband. She built their life around his big career, with dinner on the table at six, a lovely home, and a dutiful son just as business-minded as his father. Now Venetia’s a wealthy widow left with a beautiful but empty home, an enviable bank balance, and a distinct feeling that she missed the boat. Once upon a time, she was a dance instructor who dreamed of opening her own ballroom school with a fellow teacher who won her heart. Instead, Venetia chose the safer path.

So, at seventy-four years of age, Venetia declares her independence, first with a makeover, and then by adopting a new dog. But something is still missing...until on one of her dog walks by the river she passes by a building she remembers all too well. In her youth it was the spectacular Phoenix Ballroom, where she used to teach waltzes and tangos. These days it’s a community center and spiritualist church, funded by a mysterious benefactor who only pays for the upkeep.

Eager to revive at least one meaningful thing from her past, Venetia buys the Phoenix Ballroom, and finds a supportive and loving community of lost souls who become a delightful multigenerational family-by-choice.

As the ballroom regains its former glory, the community and Venetia’s humdrum life are revived as well...proving wonderful things can come from the darkest of places.


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