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 Julie 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.
Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors to read, because her writing style reminds me so much of Jane Austen’s. When opening one of her books you are transported into a story world and find yourself falling in love with her characters. Klassen even comments on her website: “If you love romance, British accents, Jane Eyre, or anything by Jane Austen, then you and I are soul sisters and I write for you!”
The story of Julia and Alec is an interesting read. My reader’s heart was captured early and held through out the book, even with saying that I have to admit Julia was not my favorite character. That is hard for me to write, since I want to love the heroine in every book I read. As I grew to know her better, but I found myself liking her as I began to understand her struggles, but I never truly felt a love for her.
Alec is a great hero, who showed both loyalty and strength. He took on the task of caring for his mother and sister when disaster fell upon his family. He showed integrity even faced with difficult decisions and was willing to forgive when wronged. His easy going nature was a nice balance to Julia’s more intense personality. I also loved how Julie weaved classic dance into the story line and thought her delightful word choices brought the story to life.
I was thoroughly captured by a secondary story line and wished the author would have written another novel using the story of Lady Amelia. She is a complex character who carries secrets. Hints are given to the reader with only enough information to keep us wondering. I found her to be one of the most fascinating characters in the book.
Overall, a great book. On a scale of 5 five stars I easily give this book 4 stars. I’m happy I read it and look forward to Julie’s next book.
Bethany House provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.