Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Filled with mystery and romance, Julie Klassen's newest book, The Dancing Master (Bethany House
Publisher, 2013
), brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.
More about The Dancing Master
Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julie Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable
soul---and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master---a man her mother would never approve of---but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village . . . and to her mother's tattered heart?
Advance Praise
"A fantastic read. Every time I was sure I had figured out the twisty-turny plot, the story would take another turn to prove me wrong. I loved it!"
---Author Michelle Griep
Here's my review of this enjoyable book:
First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Julie Klassen and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Dancing Master" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
“The Dancing Master” by Julie Klassen reads like a Jane Austen romance.  Alec Valcourt has recently relocated to the United States with his mother and sister, seeking a life in America and at the merciful kindness of his stingy uncle until he can become gainfully employed and take care of his family.  Unbeknownst to Alec, a London Dance and Fencing Master, there is no dancing in his new home, so finding students is becoming increasingly frustrating.  Miss Julia Midwinter is a flirtatious rich girl whose mother, Lady Amelia, was instrumental in banishing dancing from the community.  The attraction between these two is presented in a similar manner as great literature.
This is a long, slow read - perfect for a holiday weekend in a hammock or on a porch swing.  The plot has so many facets, it resembles real life.  The characters are beautifully built and showcased to their full advantage.  “The Dancing Master” brings to life a time long past that teaches the reader “simpler times” weren’t really simpler.  I would whole-heartedly recommend this novel to anyone who loves classic literature like “Jane Eyre”, “Pride and Prejudice”, etc.
My one issue with the book was that the story reminded me so much of “Footloose” that my concentration kept coming back to the present rather than fully submerging in the past.

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