Even though it started out slow this is another enjoyable Regency tale from Ms. Klassen. I was expecting it to be like The Tutor’s Daughter or some of her other books in that it drew heavily from Austen or the Brontes, but it didn’t as far as I could tell.
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.
The first half of the book was rather slow going and it took me several days to get through the book – it’s rather long at 419 pages. But at the end events were moving quicker, village and manor secrets were finally being reveled and explained the unofficial rule against dancing.
I liked Alec and his determination to look after his mom and sister and yet try to use his talent for teaching dancing and fencing. Though I thought he made some poor choices in where he practiced his dance steps and how he interacted with Julia. It didn’t make much sense for him to like her as much as he did.
Julia could be a Lydia Bennet in the way she went after what she wanted and didn’t care about societies rules. It took a while for me to like her but she did a lot of growing up over the course of the book and that was well written.
There was a fair amount of kissing, nothing more though; quite a bit of deceiving parents, but also chivalrous behavior (I especially liked the parts with Walter and Tess), the desire to right the wrongs of the past and a sense of fun about the young people that the story revolves around.
3 stars simply because I probably won’t reread it or parts of it (which is what 4 stars means)
Go read it! Find it at a library near you; Buy it from Amazon ($11.26); Buy it from ChristianBooks.com ($9.99) ; Buy it from Barnes & Noble ($11.26)
(Prices good as of March 23, 2014 always double check for yourself)
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.
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