Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Dancing Master, by Julie Klassen {Book 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."

Having read a few of Julie Klassen's novels, I can say that this one proved to be very different. Not so much that it isn't still a love story of sorts, but that the approach was not the same as in her other books. The story revolves mainly around Alec Valcourt.

Alec Valcourt moves from London to Beaworthy with his mother and sister. The men in his family had been successful dance masters in London, from his grandfather, to his father, and then him. A scandal occurs and he is forced to close his family's dance school and leave London.

Beaworthy, a country town in Devonshire, prominent family being the Buckleigh's. Something happened 20 years ago which caused there to be an unwritten law that dancing in Beaworthy is forbidden. Alec does not know this upon arrival, but learns very soon from his uncle, whom his family his staying with, that he is to find another way to make a living.

Julia Midwinter is the daughter of Lady Amelia of Buckleigh Estate. She's pretty and she knows it, she is spoiled, and she is reckless. She and her mother argue incessantly about Julia not doing the things a lady of her standing should be doing.

Klassen has done a good job in her books of portraying the male's side of things, but in The Dancing Master, she took it a step further and made his story almost front and center. Overall, I really enjoyed the story.

My Rating: 4 stars

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