Bethany House ISBN 9780764210709
Adult Rating: 3
Award-winning author Julie Klassen is known for writing Regency novels filled with a sweet romance, entertaining dialogue, and family secrets. In The Dancing Master, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister from London to a remote Devonshire village.
He is unaware that wealthy Lady Midwinter prohibits dancing, thus making it hard for him to create a new life by teaching dancing in the village. However, Lady Midwinter hires him as her clerk. In her employ, he comes into contact with Lady Midwinter’s daughter, Julia. She is selfish and flirts with every single man she meets, in her attempt to remedy a cold attitude from her late father. She longs to be free of her dreary village, Beaworthy, and experience a different life. Alec and Julia become unlikely allies as secrets are revealed and past hurts are healed.
Klassen has written some amazing novels, but this one is not as well-written as the others (especially Silent Governess and The Tutor’s Daughter). The dialogue is entertaining, and the characters are well-developed if not very likeable, but the plot moves slowly in the first half of the book. It is told from Alec’s point of view, giving it a different spin.
Klassen introduces the reader to a role in Regency life not normally mentioned (the dancing master is also a fencing master!). Each chapter includes quotes about dancing during this era; this adds to the depth of historical details that Klassen is known for in her writing. An author’s note about some historical facts and discussion questions are included. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, just not as excellent as her other works.
Recommended for public libraries as well as school libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer, Worthy2Read.wordpress.com
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