|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 Julie 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?
I recently discovered Julie Klassen within the last 6 months or so. I've read her books The Tutor's Daughter and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, both of which I liked. This book was enjoyable, but I have to say it was not a read till you're done at 3:00 a.m. book. The Dancing Master took me about 2 weeks to read, which for me is a long time. For the first part of the book, I got distracted very easily and it just didn't hold my attention. The last couple of days as I was in the last half of the book, it got much better and I zoomed through.
The characters were well written. The headstrong young heroine, Julie Midwinter, goes through what a lot of young ladies go through as they lose sight of what is good and dear and instead focus on what they think they want just because it's different. Mr. Valcourt has a secret hanging over his life as he finds himself in a new place that seems set against his livelihood. Maybe I had trouble with it because my mental picture of a dancing teacher is a skinny, twig-like dandy who is rather foppish. I think one other thing that tripped me up was because in this book I really loved the secondary characters almost more than the main characters. I loved Mr. Barrow. John Desmond sounds like my kind of guy (maybe it's his name). Then there's Walter, one of Alec's first students, who has an awesome sense of humor. I wouldn't mind seeing books about Walter, James, and Patience, best friends of Lady Julie.
All in all, it was a good book. It's probably not something I would read over and over again, but it wasn't a waste of time to read. I did like learning about fencing and dancing and how important it was to society back then. For those who love Regency stories, this will be right up your alley.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Bethany House Publisher's book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/wa...; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.