Friday, January 10, 2014

"the dancing master" by julie klassen

About the book (from Litfuse): 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.

My take: Julie Klassen is a master of Regency fiction, and I always eagerly anticipate her releases, each of which surprises me in some way. The Dancing Master surprised me because I expected it to be much more of a romance than it turned out to be. Yes, there are aspects of romance, including the expected attraction between dancing master Alec and Julia Midwinter. But the book is about so much more than romance: it's about friendship, parenthood, family, prejudice, legalism, and forgiveness.

I did struggle to immerse myself in the novel at first—basically because I didn't care much for Julia at the outset—but once I was about 75 pages in, I could barely tear myself away from the pages. Klassen's other characters were so fleshed out and intriguing that it soon didn't matter that I disliked Julia.

And. Then.

Klassen took all my assumptions about Julia and turned them upside down. Suddenly, I found myself immersed in questions about Julia's ancestry. I couldn't read fast enough as I tried to unravel the carefully plotted mystery.

Suffice it to say that I enjoyed The Dancing Master far more than I anticipated. I laughed; I cried (really, I did!); I sighed in contentment. Fans of Jane Austen or the regency period will find great pleasure in this book.

My rating: 4-1/2 stars

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of other Julie Klassen novels: The Apothecary's Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Tutor's Daughter.

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.

Learn more about Julie at

About the giveaway: Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master. Enter and RSVP today!

  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!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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