Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen (Review)

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.

I GIVE THIS BOOK: 2 1/2 Stars

I have read and greatly enjoyed all of Julie Klassen's previous books and had been awaiting the release of The Dancing Master for almost a year. So I was slightly disappointed when I started the story and found that I didn't like either of the main characters, at all!

Julia was a selfish, spoiled girl who seemed to derive pleasure from defying and vexing her mother. She was such a flirt too! I was honestly rooting against her for so much of the book and that's never good.

Alec was too much of a dandy for my tastes. He cared so much about his appearance that it got on my nerves. If he got one smudge on anything the whole outfit had to change.

Now I did love many of the secondary characters: The Allens, Desmond, Lady Amelia, Mrs. Tickle, and Mr. Barlow. However, my love of them didn't increase my enjoyment of the book that much, since almost every scene they're in, the main characters are in as well.

I loved the cover from the first time I saw it and after reading the story I loved it even more. It was great how it is an exact scene from the book. Her outfit is described as follows:
The woman then help her on with a soft green evening gown with embroidered flowers, ribbon sash, and short puffed sleeves. Her cameo necklace and long kid gloves completed the ensemble.
I think it's just a perfect cover!

I thought the whole reason behind the town not allowing dancing for so long was very silly, and a bit of a stretch, but that on the whole wasn't that big of a deal.

If you have read and loved Julie Klassen's previous books, you'll more than likely still want to read The Dancing Master. However if you have seen many people rave about Julie's books and are thinking of reading one, I would suggest you start elsewhere. My favorites of hers are Lady of Milkweed ManorThe Apothecary's DaughterThe Maid of Fairbourne Hall, and The Tutor's Daughter.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

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