The Phoenix Ballroom Ruth Hogan

Posted June 10, 2024 by jrsbookr in Uncategorized / 1 Comment

by Ruth Hogan
The Phoenix Ballroom  Ruth HoganThe Phoenix Ballroom Published by HarperCollins on June 11, 2024
Genres: Fiction / Friendship, FICTION / Magical Realism, Fiction / Women, Fiction / World Literature / England / 21st Century
Pages: 320
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram

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.


The Phoenix Ballroom is a delightful, cozy, inspiring, feel-good light read. We have two amazing women who are both saying goodbye to loved ones. One is 74 and has just lost her husband, and the other is a 45-year-old who just laid her mother to rest. Liberty Bell is thrown for a loop when, at the reading of her mother, she finds that she basically gets kicked out of her home and is left with some test she needs to pass to gain her inheritance. But unfortunately, she was not told what this test entails. Venita is a widower who is lost and adrift after her husband dies. Her son is taking the reigns of her life and assigning her what her grandson calls a granny nanny. The connection between these two women and the sweet outcome of this book tugged at my heartstrings, and I was thrilled to see myself in the character Liberty Bell and how she rides out life after her mother’s passing—a great summer read.

About Ruth Hogan

I was born in the house where my parents still live in Bedford: my sister was so pleased to have a sibling that she threw a thrupenny bit at me. As a child I read everything I could lay my hands on: The Moomintrolls, A Hundred Million Francs, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the back of cereal packets and gravestones. I was mad about dogs and horses, but didn’t like daddy-long-legs or sugar in my tea.

I studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths College which was brilliant, but then I came home and got a ‘proper’ job. I worked for ten years in a senior local government position (I was definitely a square peg in a round hole, but it paid the bills and mortgage) before a car accident left me unable to work full-time and convinced me to start writing seriously. It was going well, but then in 2012 I got cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept me up all night I passed the time writing and the eventual result was The Keeper of Lost Things.

I live in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and my long-suffering partner (who has very recently become my husband – so I can’t be that bad!) I am a magpie, always collecting treasures, and a huge John Betjeman fan. My favourite word is ‘antimacassar’ and I still like reading gravestones

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