Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review - The Dancing Master


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.


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.

Learn more about Julie at:


This is a wonderful book that just drew me in and kept me there! In fact, it was after finishing this book - at 4:00 AM - that I decided not to read novels anymore before trying to go to sleep! I was about half way through and just couldn't put it down until I finished it. This tells you a lot about this book!

Alec and his family move to a small town from London after the death of his father. Like his father and grandfather before him, Alec is a dancing master and teacher of fencing. Leaving behind their family's dance studio is a bitter pill, but Alec feels he can re-establish himself in this new village and create Valcourt Dancing Studio once again.  Unfortunately, he finds out after moving there that dancing is not allowed in the town!

Julia is the grown daughter of the matriarch of the village and it is this matriarch that has forbidden dancing. We know right away it has something to do with the death of her brother but the mystery remains hidden for almost the whole book. Julia has always felt unloved by her father and she feels her mother cold and austere and she is looking for love from a man and to leave this little village.

There are so many wonderful characters in this books that are in-depth and really pull you into the story. I love how well-rounded each one is - not totally good or bad - but human. Yes, there are some characters you really don't like, but we catch a glimpse of their vulnerable side.

It's a story that shows what happens to families when there are secrets that are suddenly revealed. It's also a story about what forgiveness can do for us. The greatest thing about the book is that the love of Jesus is shared in a very real way with Julia. She feels unloved, especially by her earthly father, and someone shares the love of her heavenly father with her and it's really beautiful and real. Faith is interwoven into the book like this throughout - in a real way.

I love all the historical facts about the dancing masters throughout (who knew there were such a thing? I didn't!) and, of course, it's wonderful to see the lovely manners and proper conduct of the society. That doesn't mean we don't get a clear picture of what happens when people sin - the destruction left behind and how it affects those around them, however, we also see the redemptive power of God's grace.

This book is a definite must for you "to read" list. I highly recommend it!!

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group

You can read other reviews of this book HERE 

Blessings - Julie

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