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The Ballroom on Magnolia Street
by Sharon Owens

Category: Fiction / General
368 pages; ISBN: 0399152865

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

The Ballroom on Magnolia Street
Sharon Owens
Putnam, Jul 2005, $15.00, 368 pp.
ISBN: 0399152865

In Belfast after twenty years without a vacation a Johnny "Hollywood" Hogan is thinking of spending three months in America though his grandparents have apoplexy when he tells them. He fails to confide to his beloved relatives that he is thinking of closing the Hogan’s Ballroom that he and his family have owned since the end of World War II. However, his grandparents wisely fear Johnny is thinking of retirement and consequently closing the Magnolia Street ballroom.

People love going to Hogan’s on Saturday night as a getaway from the mundane life they lead during the week. Johnny feels the same need to escape but as owner manager he cannot flee reality in the family ballroom. He has loved Marion Greenwood since he first met her in the 1960s and wants her back in his life though she married someone else and has an adult son Declan sired by her husband Eddy. However, Marion has kept two secrets from everyone, but fears that Johnny, trying to get back in her life, will learn both causing hurt for everyone involved. As he ponders shutting down the ballroom, Johnny begins to feel the magic that enchant his patrons that he lost when he lost his beloved.

The second Mulberry Street character study (see TEA HOUSE ON MULBERRY STREET) is a deep look at how Belfast residents of three generations escape their everyday lives. The substantive story line focuses on key characters like Johnny, his grandparents, Marion, Declan and two sisterly patrons, but also feels overwhelming at times. Fans will appreciate this deep look with an intriguing twist at individuals of all ages using the ballroom seeking fun and a temporary escape.

Harriet Klausner

 

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