Wednesday, February 5, 2014

{Book Review:} The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

My 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. 

Back Cover:
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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