Monday, January 20, 2014

The Dancing Master

Julie Klassen The Dancing Master

Book Info and Review

Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
January 2014
ISBN:  978-0764210709
Genre: Historical / regency

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 Julia 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.
THE DANCING MASTER is Ms. Klassen’s newest novel, but unlike some of her books in the past, this book didn’t connect with me.  I felt sorry for Alec, losing his livelihood and being completely misplaced. A community that doesn’t dance—and it is expressly forbidden, reminded me of a movie that came out years ago—Footloose—but set in regency times.  I figured out the reasons for the “rule” early on though, so they came as no surprise when they were finally revealed. I felt sorry for Julia, and like in the movie afore mentioned—Footloose—she rebelled against the rules and bucked authority.

The story is well-written. I have no qualms with that. It is slow moving though rather predictable. All it in, it was an okay read, but not one of my favorites. If you like regencies – such as Laurie Alice Eakes, Sarah Ladd, etal, you might enjoy THE DANCING MASTER. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 432 pages. 3 stars. 

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About the author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane---Jane Eyreand 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.

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