You can't go wrong with a book by Julie Klassen. I've read everyone, and I'm never disappointed. She tells a great story, a story that is clean and uplifting; and, when I'm done reading the story, I always feel like it was time well spent because I have a positive outlook on life.
The Dancing Master is no exception. Reading it is like going back in time to visit a place you've never been and people you've never met. The characters are true to the period. The plot is enjoyable and fulfilling. And you'll learn something along the way.
No, this is not one of those "grip-you-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" novels. There's no life or death threat, no kidnappings, no murders, or other vices that are included in so many novels today. It's just a comfortable story about life in another time and place and how the people interact with each other during that era. There's just enough romance to make you smile; and, no, there are no sex scenes. Just innocent, sweet romance.
If you're looking for an entertaining read with good moral values, I highly recommend any book Klassen has written, including this one, The Dancing Master.
I enjoyed this book and loved several of the characters, but I had a hard time relating to the main heroine Julia. I did enjoy the love story between Alec and Julia. It was well written and I loved how she weaved the dance elements into the story line. I think my favorite character was Lady Amelia. She was full of surprises, a very complex character who should have been given her own book. I enjoyed reading this book and appreciate being given a copy from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
The Dancing Master had a slow moving start that eventually picked up the pace, but never gripped me so that I couldn't put the book down. I put the book down on several occasions and didn't find myself in a hurry to pick it up again...the characters and the story just weren't engaging enough to stay with me.
The characters were shallow - a dancing master who was afraid to get his hands dirty with a different job so he could support his mother and sister, a rich matriarch's daughter who was so concerned with only herself that I wanted to shake some sense into her, and a matriarch of a village that was so desperate to bury pain in her own life that she controlled everyone and everything around her.
The story was enjoyable but predictable in many ways. While there were a couple of surprises along the way, this book was just too slow and too shallow for my liking.
I give this book 3 stars out of 5.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
Alec Valcourt has left London in disgrace. His mother and sister join him as he moves in with his uncle in a small town. Alec is a dancing master, but soon learns that dancing is not allowed by the patron of the town. He's left with very few choices for employment. He quickly makes friends, but when he befriends the daughter of the town patron things began to get complicated.
I was really looking forward to reading this book. The cover was perfect, the description sounded interesting, and I've read and enjoyed books by this author before.
But it was not meant to be. It took me forever to get into the book. It just seemed to plod along with nothing happening. I couldn't relate to the two main characters and the story lacked any real plot at first. The writing was good, but the characters and lack of plot were what made this just an okay book. If the two main characters were gone and several of the secondary characters had more of a place I would have really enjoyed the book since I like reading about this time period. Another small annoyance (that I probably wouldn't have even noticed had I been enjoying the book) were the awkward placement of the quotes about dancing masters at the beginning of each chapter. Instead of giving some insight into what was coming in the next chapter, they seemed to focus on the chapter I had just finished. For some reason this just really detracted from the story for me. In summary, it wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't what I was expecting from this author.
I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
The Regency novel presents the reader with word pictures that capture the imagination and fill the mind with visions of loveliness, gentility, culture, customs, and drama. Julie Klassen has done this in her novel The Dancing Master.
We meet delightful characters whose individual voices and actions are well-crafted so that the story evolves revealing multiple stories intertwined with the end result a beautiful tapestry.
The leading lady, Julia Midwinter, is a bit spoiled and a miflirty. She desires to leave the small community and the village matriarchal family home in which she has grown up and sally forth into the bigger world to discover wonders and delights.
The leading gentleman, Alec Valcourt, is a dancing master recently of London and now settled in the village with his mother and sister. There is a cloud hanging over them and Alec must establish himself as a dancing master in the village, in spite of the cloud, to support his family. He is challenged by the flirtatious Julia Midwinter and the wholesale ban on dancing in the village.
While dancing, or the subject of dancing lessons, is a primary focus of the story, the other characters' lives, histories, and interactions with each other lend dimension and depth to life in the village. The climax of the story has some surprises for the reader other than the anticipated sweet romance between Julia and Alec.
I found The Dancing Master an enjoyable read and encourage those who enjoy Regency novels to indulge.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of The Dancing Master in exchange for an honest review which I have given. No compensation was received and opinions expressed are solely my own.