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Jan 20, 2014

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Regency and Footloose collide!

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Bethany House, January 7, 2014
Historical/Regency Romance
Review copy provided by Litfuse in exchange for this review, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 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 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.
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My other reviews of Julie Klassen's titles:  The Tutor's Daughter; The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

This is the third year in a row that I have been lucky enough to start off a new year with a new novel by Julie Klassen. The author is a master of Regency romances, but what makes hers extra special is the enchanting writing and amazing way she blends themes of faith into her stories. The inspirational tones are always lightly put until a certain dramatic point, but it is the characters and the plot that carries you away into her Regency world. After reading a Klassen novel I always wish I were lucky enough to be born during that era of balls and handsomely attired men.

The Dancing Master brings us the story of Alec Valcourt, recently transplanted from London into the small town of Beaworthy. There is an aura of mystery as to why Alec and his family had left London, and it is sad news that Alec can't perform his trade of dancing master to tutor the residents of Beaworth. The influential family at Buckleigh Manor expressly forbids it, therefore the last twenty years have been pretty quiet for the town due to Lady Amelia Midwinter's strict influence.

Alec's doom may not be too quick though, as he is able to secure a position at Buckleigh Manor as a clerk for Lady Amelia. He may be able to provide for his family after all.. but his need to dance may land him in trouble with his employer. Not to mention the fact that the beautiful young daughter at Buckleigh Manor, Julia Midwinter, seems determined to ensnare him with her flirtatious ways. Julia has been bored and spoiled all her life, and sees Alec as an exciting way to thwart her mother's wishes, but what will happen when Lady Amelia discovers the secret dance instructions? Most of all, what will happen when Alec discovers Lady Amelia's own secrets she's held dear for twenty years?

The answers come slowly, which may turn off some readers. Themes of courage and honor remain strong throughout this telling of a dancing master struggling to make himself worthy among his contemporaries, while the revelations are slow to reveal. Klassen's previous works were page turners and tinged with a gothic mysticism which are elements that are missing with The Dancing Master. This novel is focused on character development and their interactions as the plot thickens. The ending was not a true surprise and yet it was still masterfully done.  While this won't be a favorite Klassen novel among her fans due to its slow nature, it is still worthy of high praise as a inspirational Regency novel and one that I would recommend to fellow readers who enjoy the Regency era.

Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master.
 Enter and RSVP today!

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the "All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)" Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen DVDs, fun "Jane" merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!