The Dancing MasterJulie Klassen
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 ... Read More
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 by Julie Klassen 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.
Page Count: 432
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Dec 4, 2013
- UPC: 9780764210709
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 424
- Publish Date: Jan 7, 2014
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042030"
- ISBN: 076421070X
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- A Regency winner for me by Carole on 2/16/2014
To put it quite simply, I have loved every book that I've read by Julie Klassen, and The Dancing Master is no exception. Julie's prose is beautiful and the descriptions of village life are excellent. Her research must have been extensive and the historical quotes at the beginning of each chapter are a great touch.
The Dancing Master might seem long to some - and while there's mystery, the action is not fast paced - but I savored every moment spent in its pages. The setting is Devonshire, England in 1816, and the Prologue sets the stage for what's to come with this beautiful picture:
"From behind the market hall, an old man hobbled into view. He tossed aside his apron and bowed before the woman. And she in turn curtsied. She gave him a girlish smile, and decades flew from her face."
As a pianist and someone who loves to watch ballroom dancing, I found much enjoyment is the descriptions of various dances. Memories of playing Beethoven's "Minuet in G" quickly came to mind as I read through a scene where the minuet was taught. Julie's writing makes it easy to visualize these scenes so that these stately dances really come alive.
Alec and Julia are quite complex characters and I really liked how most of the narrative is from Alec's point of view. The dancing master is a unique character . . . Dancing was such an important part of society that dance masters were sought after and mixed freely with the elite, knowing all the while that they could never be considered equals and were therefore looked down upon by the very ladies they were teaching. Julia initially comes across as selfish, self-centered and reckless, but as her past is slowly uncovered, we see and welcome a gradual transformation.
The unusual and enthusiastic worship of a group called the Bryanites added much to the story, for dance was the expression of their joy and praise. While watching them in one scene, Alec wondered: "How long had it been since he had communed with his Creator with half the sincerity and fervor of these people?"
But it is the character of Johnny Desmond who will linger in my thoughts. Mysterious, flawed, talented as a blacksmith and musician both, a man with a surprisingly deep faith - for it is he who points out to Julia that she is a "child of the King." And in their conversation, he states simply: "I don't know how religious I am, but I know I'd be lost without Christ."
The theme of God's love and grace is woven throughout this story, in a way that blends in simply with the storyline. Readers who like a Regency setting, strong characterization and entertaining story will enjoy The Dancing Master.
On a scale of 1 to 5+, my rating is 5. Definitely recommended!
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for providing a copy of The Dancing Master in exchange for my honest review.
- A Town Without Dancing by Maureen on 1/8/2014
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the setting, and could understand the pain that came to quite a few, in this story, on being betrayed. There is a lot of lying and deceit.
Julia, one of the main characters, is a flirt, and very spoiled. She thinks mainly of her self, and doesn't seem to care about what happens to others. Another main male character, Alec, is the Dance Master Saber Instructor. I cringed when he was beaten up, I thought surely some of his fast on his feet training, would happen. I did like that he didn't tell what had happened to his father, in order to defend himself.
I also felt rather sorry for Julia, her cold father, and rather distant Mother. Maybe that is the reason she acts so unlikeable. I did like John Desmond, and felt sorry for the burden that he carried, all because of what someone said, and caused so much heartache.
You will be in for some big surprises and will be guessing almost to the end.
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.