Generally speaking, regency fiction or really, most novels that fall within the historical fiction genre, is something I prefer as a cinematic production. For some crazy reason, I love it when I can see it through the lens of a vivid film but reading about it? I just haven’t been able to fall into the fan base. For this reason, this is only the second novel I’ve read by the much loved Julie Klassen.
BOOK REVIEW | ‘DARE TO LOVE AGAIN,’ BY JULIE LESSMAN‘THE DANCING MASTER,’ BY JULIE KLASSEN #FWarchives Click To Tweet
STORY: The story follows a young dancing instructor Alec Valcourt newly arrived from London to the small village of Beaworthy. Once there, living with his mother and sister under his uncle’s roof, Alec is anxious to set up a new academy only to learn that the estate landowner, Lady Midwinter forbids dancing of any kind. When he meets Julia Midwinter, the woman’s impetuous daughter, Alec is surprised to find she’s eager to go against her mother and learn the art of dance. Furthermore he learns she’s a young lady who has no scruples about who she flutters her eyes at. When past secrets begin to emerge, it’s up to Julia and Alec to restore happiness to the village that has tiptoed around Lady Midwinter for one too many years.
The Dancing Master, by Julie Klassen | Book Review
Whatever I may conclude about The Dancing Master, it’s inarguable that Klassen has talent, and it’s easy to see why her style is so often compared to the greats. She has a flair for an Austen familiarity and usually also sneaks in hints of mystery. Her prose is stylistically gorgeous which is what helps make the gorgeous cover design come alive. We’ve no problem feeling as if we’re “living” in regency England through the lives of Alec, Julia and each supporting character we encounter. My reservations about this novel is more personal taste than objection to its content although I will say its “love story” falls flat. What portrays itself as a romance is actually a novel about a young man coming to grips with his past and a young woman learning of her past. It’s in this where the story shines.
Klassen expertly weaves this story with red herrings and misdirection. While reading the latter half of the story, I flip-flopped more than once over what the truth is; and still I don’t guess what the “secret” is. It’s fantastic how in and out of mystery the author teases her readers; some of the characters do disappoint, but Julia’s search for truth doesn’t. While the theme of the novel(dancing) is superb, its focus isn’t as clear-cut as its peers. If you don’t mind the focal point of historical that uses its characters as individuals to tell a story, then The Dancing Master is for you. In this, it’s Alec we get to know best whereas Julia feels more like a figure in the background.
Unless I miss my guess, fans of Julie Klassen will enjoy this historical reading.
About the Book:
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Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
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Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
With thanks to the publisher (Bethany House) and the ladies at Litfuse for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.