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.
Not the best novel from Klassen, though it's still a good read.
I always look forward to Miss Klassen's new book every year, though I must admit, this one let me down a little. The plot reminded me faintly of Footloose with a regency twist, but in reality there isn't much in common between the two beyond the lack-or unspoken outlaw-of dancing in Beaworthy, Devon. It was certainly a unique twist for a regency novel, although the reasons behind it felt lacking when revealed. The one aspect of Beaworthy I really liked was the depth to all the residents we meet. I adored Miss Tickle and Mr. and Mrs. Desmond. As for other supporting characters, the Allens and Mr. Barlow were also favorites of mine. I do wish we could have seen more of Aurora, her character intrigues me, nonetheless I understand why we didn't.
All this brings me to the leading hero and heroine, Alec and Julia. I liked the focus on Alec's perspective a lotl probably because I didn't enjoy Julia's personality until closer to the end. Alec himself is not the usual hero you find when you dig into the pages of a regency novel, though he is far from perfect. Julia, on the other hand, got under my skin in a bad way. I pitied her situation, but it took most of the book for me to grow to like her. Most of the time she acted so recklessly that I wanted to ground her into the next century, but somehow Miss Klassen redeemed her and made her likable.
Overall, The Dancing Master ranks low for me, when compared to Miss Klassen's other books. However, I still believe that fans of Regency stories such as Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice will enjoy Miss Klassen's latest. There is talk of men and women sleeping together out of wedlock and in one instance, it results with a child. Nothing goes into detail. Though The Dancing Master didn't quite come up to par, I still enjoyed spending time in Beaworthy.
I received this book from Bethany House in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.
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".