This is my first review for Litfuse. I hope it is done right :)
Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Number of pages: 424
Source: Litfuse http://litfusegroup.com/
The Rating I give this book: 4 stars
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?
Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master 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.
This was the first book that I’ve read of Julie Klassen’s, but she is a favourite author of my elder sister, so I wasn’t too hesitant to read this book. :)
I did quite enjoy this book, though I didn’t necessarily fall completely head-over-heals in love with it. To me, it was just a nice light and kind of ‘fluffy’ read.
Don’t get me wrong – it was written very well, and I enjoyed Mrs. Klassen’s way of writing. I probably will read more of her books in the future. :)
I really liked the aspect of dancing and fencing; I found that all very interesting, and well, good!
I did not care for the main character, Julia, at first, but towards the end of the middle and in the end she improved and ‘grew on me’. I liked Aurora, Alec, Patience, Walter, and John Desmond probably the best.
I was a little disappointed though, with a couple things. One, was how it was more romance than Christian. The story line was good, but it really did not touch on deeper, spiritual matters, which I think is the most important and winning aspect of a book. It was only in the end that anything related to the Lord was really touched on.
Second, was how much, well to put it plainly, ‘deceit’ was going on between Julia and her mother, Lady Amelia. Julia was constantly going out behind her mother’s back and doing things Lady Amelia strictly warned against, as well as keeping many secrets. And that was never really put to right in the end. I was hoping, as I was noticing this, that Julia would realize just how wrong that was, and stop, but even in the end, she still did another incident of going behind her mothers back in secrecy and it was just ‘swept under the rug’ so to speak. I just didn’t like that.
Other than those two points, I think it was good.
The book was fairly long, and sometimes, drawn out. You didn’t learn things till the very end, which is okay. Like I said, I enjoyed how it was written, however, there were just times when I felt like it should be over by now. :D
Oh, and I really liked the fact that the Prologue and the Epilogue were written in first-person, like from Julia’s point of view; I thought that was neat.
I also found the quotes and such at the beginning of each chapter, interesting and fun.
Reading about English Dancing really made me wish I could attend an English ball of old. How fun that would be!
“The Dancing Master” is a good book, truly. I may not have adored it, but I did enjoy it. :)
And if you have any questions, or are wondering about anything particular about it, please do ask! I would be glad to try to answer any questions you might be wondering about. :)
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/s7Yl1
About the author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Note: I received “The Dancing Master” free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased review.