Friday, January 31, 2014

The Dancing Master - A Review

Published - January 7, 2014, Bethany House Publishers

Author - Julie Klassen

Format - paper, ebook

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Alec Valcourt moves with his mother and sister to the small country town of Beaworthy to escape a scandal in London. He doesn't know when he moves to the town that dancing is strictly forbidden. As a dancing master, that puts a damper on his chances of employment. When he is offered a job as a clerk for Lady Amelia Midwinter, Alec accepts, even though his heart longs to be teaching dance. He soon finds himself drawn to the young, beautiful Julia Midwinter, daughter of his boss. Julia longs to escape the small town/country life she lives and seek adventure in the world outside of Beaworthy. She doesn't understand why dancing has been forbidden. As she seeks out Alec's company more and more, she discovers a need to find out the truth behind the reasons dancing is forbidden as well as her own past. When the scandal that caused Alec to leave London follows him to the town, will he admit the truth or will he continue to protect his family.

I've several of Julie Klassen's books before. When I kept hearing about how slow this one was, I found myself hoping I'd be able to get into it and enjoy it. I also found myself browsing the reviews, something I never do until I write my own, and was a little surprised at the lower than usual ratings for this book. While, I'll admit that this book is not my favorite one by this author. Truthfully, I don't feel it's one of her better written ones either. But I was still able to enjoy this book.

I found Julia to be, for about half of the book, very immature and more of a flirt than what I really cared for. The other half of the book, I saw her grow up and I actually liked her then. Alec was a bit too stuck on his appearance and not getting his hands dirty, but I truly liked him. I liked how he realized he had to make a living to support his mother and sister, and while the clerk position may not have been his dream job, it was a job that he could do. I loved the way he cared for his mother and sister. In fact, I found his caring for them to be sweet.

I absolutely ADORED the secondary characters. Specifically John Drummond and Walter Allen. I loved how they made a scene more interesting whenever they were in one. I also found the way that Alec helped Walter to overcome his problem with dancing to be very ingenious.

There was a bit of mystery surrounding the scandal that caused Alec and his family to flee London and around the Midwinters. Yet when the truth was actually revealed, I felt it was a bit of a letdown. Even the reasons behind dancing being forbidden was more anti-climatic than I'd expected.

Still, I can recommend this book. But I'd recommend, if you've never read anything by this author, in starting with either The Lady of Milkweed Manor or the Tutor's Daughter.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Regency England, Julie Klassen, historical fiction

Rating - 3.5 stars, though for purposes on Amazon and Goodreads, it'll be 3.

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