It is with much regret that I confess that unlike a multitude of other readers, I have somehow missed out on the oh so popular classic novels of Jane Austen – or if I have read any of them, my memory of them is buried deep among the possibly thousands of other books I have read during my lifetime. I realize that Jane Austen has set a standard that many authors hope to achieve. I have read and enjoyed most if not all of Julie Klassen’s novels and in my opinion, if she has not met those standards then the standards are too high.
“The Dancing Master” is an intriguing and beautifully written story about a small town with a history and secrets that have had a major influence on its residents and their everyday lives even after twenty years. Julia Midwinter, the daughter of the town matriarch, desperately wants to get away from the overprotective prison her mother has built around her. She has always felt unloved by her father and stifled by her mother and as a result has become quite reckless and flirtatious. A new man in town has caught her attention but will he be enough to make her change her ways. Alec Valcourt has recently arrived with his mother and sister to live with his uncle in order to escape a serious family scandal. A dancing master, Alec hopes to open his own dancing and fencing academy but quickly learns that dancing is frowned upon in the village of Beaworthy. Determined to provide for his family, Alec must find a way to earn a living without having to resort to labor for which he is ill equipped.
“The Dancing Master” has something for almost every reader. There is romance but it is not the overwhelming focus of the narrative. Adequate attention is given to friendships and family relationships and a wealth of interesting characters populate the pages. Then there are the family secrets and mysteries as well as several scenes with action, danger, and conflict. Klassen creates the perfect atmosphere for each and every incident throughout the story. Several excellent examples of forgiveness, grace, and reconciliation are woven into the tale.
Another fine novel from Klassen, “The Dancing Master” has earned its place on my bookshelf. I eagerly anticipate this author’s next book and each one to follow.
This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–”Jane Eyre” and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Find out more about Julie at http://www.julieklassen.com/.
Julie Klassen’s “The Dancing Master” giveaway and “All Things Jane” webcast 1/23!
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the “All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)” Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen DVDs, fun “Jane” merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)