Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

I've read Jane Eyre and I've seen the movies. I saw the intricate dances that were part of the social setting of the day, but I never thought about how the people learned to do all those dances!

Julie has brought to life those who taught that essential social grace to the ladies and gentlemen making their way in Regency England. The dancing
master of this novel is Alec Valcourt. Due to a scandal in their family, Alec has had to move his mother and sister to Devonshire and his uncle's home. He hopes to start over but is stunned to find out dancing has been banned in the village.

The unwritten law had been laid down by Lady Amelia Midwinter, the lady of the estate upon which the village depended for its livelihood. Julia Midwinter, Lady Amelia's daughter and heir to the estate, is a flirtatious woman who has eyes for Alec. It seems impossible that a romance could ever blossom between the two.

I really liked this historical novel. I learned a great deal about the role of dancing in that era. I really enjoyed the romance aspect of the novel too. There were so many secrets from the past – hidden because of the social attitudes of the time. But as the novel progresses, the truth is revealed and there is wonderful forgiveness, healing and restoration. I was happy to see that a vicar's sermon was the catalyst.

This is an excellent novel. I was impressed with how the customs of the day were explained, such as the social levels of the time and how that impacted relationships. I enjoyed the writing style, the characters (especially feisty Julia) and the overall plot. If you like historical novels of the early nineteenth century, you'll like this one. It is one to savor.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this novel and you can read other reviews here.

Julie Klassen is a graduate of the University of Illinois and worked in publishing for sixteen years. She now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award for Historical Romance, the Midwest Book Award, Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards, Minnesota Book Awards, and ACFW's Carol Awards. She and her husband have two sons and live in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota. Find our more at www.julieklassen.com.

Bethany House Publishers, 432 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group for the purpose of this review.
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