This is the fourth book by Julie Klassen that I have read. I consider her one of my favorite authors and I have high expectations for her novels because I know how good they can be. Unfortunately, this novel was a disappointment. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't as good as the others I have read. I would give this book 3.5 stars, but because she is a favorite author of mine I rounded up and gave the book a 4. The title is "The Dancing Master" and that's who I felt the book was about. The impression that I had from the book is that it was mostly about Alec and his struggles moving into the new town. The book was also from Julia's perspective and we read about her problems as well, but I felt that it wasn't the main point of the book. I also thought it would be more of a romance novel, but it wasn't. There was a love story in the book, but it wasn't the main theme in the book. That is ok and some readers may prefer to read a novel with a little less romance, but I wish it had a bit more. There were a few twists in the book, which is one of the things I love about Klassen's writing. The dancing issues weren't as interesting to me, which is probably another reason why I didn't give the book 5 stars. Everyone has his or her own preferences and likes and dislikes. This book just didn't do it for me. I would still recommend it to Julie Klassen fans. If you are a new Julie Klassen reader I would recommend reading one of her other novels first. Again, this isn't a bad book; it just isn't one of Klassen's best in my opinion.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.
Alex Valcourt, dancing master by profession, arrives in a small town that prohibits dancing. He must find a way to support his family, but what other profession is he trained for? Julia Midwinter fancies the new dancing master, but is it because she is lonely, trying to fill a void left by her unloving father, or something else? Julia unearths some disturbing information about her past and confronts her mother, questioning whether this information is true or not. Julia is met with evasions and continues to dig deeper, but will she like what she discovers?
I didn't really like the main female character as she seemed vain, selfish and manipulative. She never seemed to realize that she wasn't the focus of the world. Her mother in the story also seemed cold and distant. The story could have been shortened by 50 pages or so by eliminating all the waiting to find out the answers to Julia's questions. The long wait between questions and answers didn't serve as a tension builder for me, but rather as an irritation. With the negatives out of the way, I did like the lead male characters. He was willing to give up his dreams to take a job he didn't want in order to support his mother and sister. He honorably took the blame for his father's ruinous deeds in order to spare his mother further humiliation. I also liked the supporting characters of the Allen brothers and Desmond and their willingness to stand up for their friend at the potential cost of injury to themselves. Mrs. Tickle's generosity, Mr. and Mrs. Desmond's cheekiness and Barlow's affection for Julia helped to make the story more interesting.
Another great book by Julie Klassen! I've read a few of her books now and this is her newest one.
I loved how when the book starts out the main character, Julia, is protrayed as a spoiled rich girl. However, as you read more and more you find out some much more about her. Alec comes to town to start a dancing and fencing school, only to discover that dancing has been outlawed in this town for some time! But why??? That question slowly gets answered throughout the story. There is a character introduced early on that has an air of mystery about him. Who is? What is doing in the town? Does he have anything to do with why dancing is outlawed?
I enjoyed how Ms. Klassen introduced each of her characters and then slowly throughout the story let you know a little more about them. The mystery going on through the story keeps you wanting to read for me and leaves you routing for some of the main characters! I also enjoyed the romance in the story between not just one set of characters and the complications that there can be between two people who are of different social standings.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers for purpose of this review, I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions I have expressed are my own.
The Dancing Master is the first book by Julie Klassen that I have read. I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into Regency England. I love historical fiction and this is one of the eras that I especially enjoy reading about.
The setting is a quaint, little town named Beaworthy. Julia Midwinter and Alec Valcourt are the main characters. Alec has relocated to Beaworthy with his mother and sister after some sort of scandal has obviously forced them out of London. He plans to open a dancing and fencing school in Beaworthy. But therein lies a problem. Dancing is no longer tolerated in this little town.
Julia could be viewed as a spoiled little rich girl at the beginning of the novel. I suppose this would be accurate, however, I actually still liked Julia, even when she was acting out. I felt so sorry for the hurt she internalized from a father who didn't want anything to do with her. Her acting out and flirting made sense to me when looked upon with the knowledge of this insecurity she carried around with her.
The author did such a wonderful job of creating deep and interesting characters. I really enjoyed the flashbacks in the book. In these scenes, we have the opportunity to see the past through Julia's mother's eyes as it is happening. It opens little windows into the story and hints at the underlying scandals that rocked their family.
The Dancing Master is a well-written novel. The romance is sweet and light, yet definitely grows throughout the story. Main characters and side characters are all very interesting. I really enjoyed the way the author was able to unfurl the mysteries one little bit at a time throughout the story, letting me know just enough to keep me wondering and reading on. The descriptions of the dances were beautiful and I felt that I could really see them dancing. After reading this book, I am looking forward to reading more of Julie Klassen's novels.
I received a complimentary copy of The Dancing Master from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Set in Jane Austen's England, "The Dancing Master" is about much more than reviving a lapsed tradition in an out of the way hamlet. It delves deeply into the struggles of individual characters: their motives and their foibles. It explores the importance of the truth, and highlights the peace that can be found in God's Love and Grace. A moving and well-told tale, this romance deals with so much more than love. The healing that it brings to its characters may very well bring healing to its readers also.
An excellent plot development and realistic characters give this book its double-edged ability to pierce to the heart of the matter. It is not a quick read, but it is a good one.
I would like to thank Net Galley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.