I just finished reading Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. It has been on my reading list for a very long time now. I received the book for Christmas and was very excited to start reading it, but as you may have noticed based on my blog posts between Christmas and now, I read a whole bunch of other books before finally reading this one.
I was not disappointed in Ballet Shoes. I was afraid I might be, because when you look forward to reading a certain book for so long, then you raise you expectations for it, and then end up disappointed when you do read it.
Ballet Shoes takes place in London, England between the 1920’s and ’30’s. Great-Uncle Matthew of GUM for short took in his widowed niece, her daughter, and her daughter’s nanny. After his niece dies, GUM continues to provided for her daughter, and nanny. He is an explorer, who collects fossils, and leaves his house for years at a time. When his great niece, Sylvia is grown up, GUM returns from one of his expeditions, but this time not with a usual fossil, but a baby. Sylvia and Nana, name her Pauline. Shortly after this, GUM returns from another expedition with yet another baby in tow. This little girl they call Petrova. Petrova is not the last of the babies. That was Posy.
After dropping of the last baby, GUM leaves again, and does not return as usual. Sylvia, called Garnie (their version of Guardian) and Nana raised the three ‘Fossils’
When money gets short, with GUM not returning, Sylvia finds boarders who will pay to live in the large house. The boarders are Mr. and Mrs. Simpson, who own an automobile (much to Petrova’s delight) two women Doctors, who end up schooling the girls, and Theo, a dance instructor at a local Dance Academy.
One thing leads to another, and the Fossil girls are learning the arts of stage acting, singing and ballet dancing.
Now, since this a review, I have thought about the book deeply (well, maybe not that deeply) There are of course things to knit-pick on in every book. The only thing that I found in this book that I was not satisfied with, was that it was very fast paced. Within the span of a mere 240 pages, Pauline is a baby at the beginning and at the end she is 15!
I wish that Noel Streatfield would have gone a little slower, and gone into more detail at certain parts.
But, overall I can’t complain. It was a really great book. The characters were well written, and each one unique. The situation and feeling portrayed were relatable and believable.
I highly recommend this book and don’t wait as long as I did to read it : )