When Alec Valcourt moves his Mother and Sister from London to Beaworthy England there are more surprises in store than he would have thought. Being a Dancing Master he runs into trouble when he finds out the village matriarch had prohibited dancing years ago. But determined to care for his Mother and Sister he must figure something out. And he finds a unlikely ally Julia, the matriarch's daughter. At first he is wary of her reckless flirtation, but finds her bold way of acting may be to hide her own sorrows and vulnerable soul.
Julia Midwinter has grown up in a world without dancing or going to London like other girls her age. And is tried of being trapped in the little village of Beaworthy. When she meets the new family who has moved to Beaworthy she is quickly attracted to Alec. But with him not being in the same upper class as her family, and a Dancing Master no less, her Mother would not approve of someone like him.
But will secrets from his past catch up with him and mess up his future? And what other things may be revealed that have been hidden in Beaworthy history for years.
The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen is a wonderful book! I love Historical Fiction and this was another great one. It took place back in the early 1800's and sounded very real. It has a great story and had a lot of mystery! I was happily surprised with how much mystery was in the story, I was not expecting so much and really enjoyed it. Julie Klassen did a wonderful job on this book and I would love to read some of her other books as well!
I received this book free from Bethany House for my honest review. The opinions are my own.
Unfortunate circumstances prompt dancing master Alex Valcourt to move from London to Beaworthy in the fall of 1816. After moving, Alex learns there is a ban on dancing in the small village. To support his mother and sister, he reluctantly secures a position as clerk for Lady Amelia Midwinter.
Julia Midwinter is restless. She prefers horseback riding and flirting with young men to fitting into polite society. Lady Amelia has high expectations for her, as Julia is the sole heir to the Midwinter estate.
Alex's and Julia's paths intersect more than Lady Amelia would like and the two become friends. As they both wrestle with new discoveries, Alex learns his past may affect his future. Julia finds her heritage contains unexpected fragments.
The Dancing Master is a tale of friendships and secrets that held my attention from the start. I found myself nestled within the story, enjoying the characters while trying to solve the mysteries within.
This story is a masterful example, in my opinion, of what good historical fiction should be. From a reader's standpoint, I enjoyed it tremendously. From a writer's perspective, I learned from and appreciated the depth of characters and the flow and layers of the plot.
Klassen's flair for realistic characters, engaging storyline, and rich detail rests on every page. The Dancing Master is a dance, an exquisite, perfectly timed tale of mystery, love, redemption, and forgiveness. It is one of the few books that I'd consider reading again someday.
Solid Five Stars on this beautifully written story by Julie Klassen who already has a number of awards under her belt, including a few Christy awards. I normally read my books by listening to audiobooks but that frequently means that I have to wait several months until a book has released. I began reading this book as a NetGalley download, because I didn't want to wait. But when there were too many errors for me to be able to easily read the book on Kindle (a Net Galley problem that should get resolved) I let the author know about the problem and she assisted me in obtaining a paperback copy from the publisher, in advance of release. I am not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.
Julia is an impetuous young woman, in Regency England immediately after the War of 1812, being raised as Lady Amelia's daughter. When a handsome young dance master, Alec, arrives in the small village, Julia's world changes. Nice character arc for Julia as she transforms, over the course of the book, from a rebellious bratty young woman (she's adopted and this is part of her issue) into a young lady comfortable in her own skin. Just when I was wondering where Ms. Klassen was going with the spiritual arc, if anywhere, she zoomed in with a lovely resolution. This is a Christian historical romance and readers should know that it is. In particular, the very end of the book has a lovely resolution to all the faith issues in the book.
I read this 400 page book in about 2 1/2 days because I couldn't put it down, it was so good!
I don't know if I've said before, but I do not read historical fiction. I do not read Regency romance. I do not read Christian historical fiction or Regency romance. It is just not my thing. But there is just something about Julie Klassen and her books. I've read every. single. one. of her books, and I've loved every single one of them. The Dancing Master was no exception.
Julia is the daughter of the town's matriarch. She finds her mother to be strict, oppressive, and hiding way too many secrets for Julia's liking. Julia lashes out by being rebellious and reckless, and flirting with any man she can, trying to find someone who will take her away from this horrid place. Alec has moved to the tiny town of Beaworthy with his mother and sister when they were driven out of London by scandal. Except, he is a dancing master...and dancing is forbidden. Forbidden by none other than Julia Midwinter's mother, twenty years ago.
I will say, Julia is probably one of my least favorite main characters, out of all Klassen's novels. She was immature, reckless, spoiled, and bratty. She refused to listen to anyone, belittled her mother for petty reasons, and was all-around pretty selfish. She complains about how her life wasn't as perfect as it seemed, but it mainly seemed so because she made it that way, because she wanted people's attention. She seemed like a petulant child for most of the novel, even though she's older than most characters you might usually see in this position (19). That said, she wasn't a deal breaker for the book. I suppose all of it was necessary to show just how much she changes by the end of the book. (In my opinion, not much.)
Because of this, I couldn't ever really figure out why Alec liked her so much. Alec himself wasn't too bad. I'll admit, he wasn't the most swoonworthy of Klassen's male lead characters, but he was noble. He was sweet and charming, although he could be a bit stuck-up, when it came to manual labor and such. (He's a gentleman after all.)
I did love the secondary characters a lot. Patience, James, and Walter Allen were among my favorites. (I want a book about one of them. I don't care which, just one of the Allen's.) I loved the friendship between them and Alec and Julia. I also loved how they were as a family, their parents included. I liked Ben and Tess Thorne and all the other townspeople. And of course, Alec's mother, and sister Aurora. Some of them weren't the most developed secondary characters I've ever read, but they were a lot of fun and kept a smile on my face.
Lady Amelia, Julia's mother, was one of my favorites. I very much enjoyed the small scenes from her POV, as well as the flashbacks. They taught us so much more about the story. They also showed us that she isn't some overbearing, crazy strict mother as Julia would have us believe. She's been hurt by Julia nearly as much as Julia's been hurt by her. Not to mention, all the other hurt she's experienced in her life. Her and Julia may not act in the best way about their feelings, which is partially responsible for all the hurt that keeps piling up, but they eventually see the error of their ways and start fixing things between them.
The plot itself was also very much well-written. The book is slightly long, and in places seemed to drag, but other than that, it was great. The secrets and mysteries surrounding the characters will keep you guessing. Although some of the "twists" were predictable, that didn't take away (much) when you actually found out the truth. And there are some twists that you won't see coming, that will not go as you thought it would.
I will say, the religious aspect of this was sort of non-existent most of the way through, and then it was just...there. Slightly awkward placing, almost randomly. I feel that for it to have been more effective, it should have been immersed throughout the entire book.
Even with its few faults, I loved this book just like all her other ones, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is loves historical or Regency romances, clean romance, or Christian romances.
One of my favorite authors is Julie Klassen. I love watching movies and reading books about this time period so I eagerly awaited the release of this book. Sadly, it was not my favorite. Unlike other novels by Julie Klassen, this book I could easily put down. She does a wonderful job painting the environment of the time period and is a seasoned writer; I was just unable to get attached to the characters. I would recommend starting with this book and then reading her other books. The cover art is beautiful and the book is a great read for Jane Austin fans.
I give this book a score of 3 out of 5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.