Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Bethany House
Genre: Christian/Inspiration Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from TLC Book Tours)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, ChristianBook, Indiebound
Julie Klassen on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, The Dancing Master, courtesy of Scribd via the author's website.
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.
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Monday, January 6th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, January 7th: Reviews from the Heart
Wednesday, January 8th: Books in the Burbs
Thursday, January 9th: Christian Bookshelf Reviews
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Monday, January 13th: Let Them Read Books – review
Tuesday, January 14th: Let Them Read Books – interview/giveaway
Wednesday, January 15th: Luxury Reading
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Monday, January 20th: Lavish Bookshelf
Tuesday, January 21st: Melina’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, January 22nd: Broken Teepee
Thursday, January 23rd: Bookfoolery
Monday, January 27th: WV Stitcher
Tuesday, January 28th: Deb’s Book Bag
Wednesday, January 29th: The Overweight Bookshelf
Thursday, January 30th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Julie Klassen's latest release, The Dancing Master is a novel that historical romance and Christian fiction enthusiasts alike will come to love. The impeccable research and a well delivered plot, of this novel will endear fans quickly to Klassen's writing style. She is able to evoke feelings of nostalgia, and makes several nods to some of the great writers like Jane Austen. The Dancing Master is a feast for the senses as Klassen's descriptions show a lot of attention to detail. A great novel, but a wonderful novelist!
What I liked:
Julie Klassen's novels have always been favorites of mine. Most Christian/Inspirational books come in a series or trilogy. Klassen however has always done single titles which shows a lot of confidence in her ability to bring her characters to life. She only has one shot and she certainly makes the best of it. She doesn't have to rely on perhaps doing better with the next book in the series. It's often a refreshing change in the genre.
It is obvious that Klassen does a lot of research for her books. She has the time period and the customs down to a science. There was not one slip in character or in the dialogue from how characters who actually lived in the time would act or what they would say. Klassen does a remarkable job of transporting the reader back in time and does not break from that time long past until the book finishes. A great fete for any author.
I loved Alec Valcourt as the hero in this book. I know that many of the leading families during this time period made sure that their children were taught all of the necessary graces of which dancing and music were one. I liked that Alec had an unusual profession and a heart of gold. He is trying to establish himself in a new place because of the ruin of his father, but he also still trying to live his dreams as well. I thought he was insightful and brave to take the stands that he did against the leading family of Beaworthy who did not allow dancing. Such a great character.
I also very much enjoyed the mystery behind why dancing was not allowed and how that played into the story. It gave it a unique and original feel that is sometimes lacking in historical romance. The themes can get a bit predictable, and I thought The Dancing Master stood out as different and fresh.
What I didn't like:
Unfortunately, there were a few things I didn't like about this one. And one of them happened to be the heroine. Julia Midwinter, just did not sit well with me. She was somewhat unlikable. Though she did improve under the watchful eye of Alec, she was still a bit simpering. I just did not connect with her at all. That's a rare thing for me.
The Christian/Inspirational message that is usually the underlying theme of books of this kind was all but missing in this one. What few references there were to it seemed a bit contrived and not essential to the story line. That's something I have never seen in a Julie Klassen novel before, so that was a bit surprising.
I was a little disappointed with some aspects of the book and delighted with others. I wanted more of a faith message and I did not like the heroine, but the research in this novel was unparalleled and Klassen has such a way with description. Don't take my word for it... read it and see!
The Dancing Master is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Three-time Christy Award winner 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 and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more at www.julieklassen.com.