Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Dancing Master {by Julie Klassen}

Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Leaving London, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire--but is stunned to discover that dancing is prohibited! He finds an unlikely ally in Miss Julia Midwinter, but her questions about his past are becoming harder to evade. Together, can they bring new life to this quiet village--and heal long-kept-secret scars?

I don't know if I've said before, but I do not read historical fiction. I do not read Regency romance. I do not read Christian historical fiction or Regency romance. It is just not my thing. But there is just something about Julie Klassen and her books. I've read every. single. one. of her books, and I've loved all of them. The Dancing Master was no exception. 

Julia is the daughter of the town's matriarch. She finds her mother to be strict, oppressive, and hiding way too many secrets for Julia's liking. Julia lashes out by being rebellious and reckless, and flirting with any man she can, trying to find someone who will take her away from this horrid place. Alec has moved to the tiny town of Beaworthy with his mother and sister when they were driven out of London by scandal. Except, he is a dancing master...and dancing is forbidden. Forbidden by none other than Julia Midwinter's mother, twenty years ago. 

I will say, Julia is probably one of my least favorite main characters, out of all Klassen's novels. She was immature, reckless, spoiled, and bratty. She refused to listen to anyone, belittled her mother for petty reasons, and was all-around pretty selfish. She complains about how her life wasn't as perfect as it seemed, but it mainly seemed so because she made it that way, because she wanted people's attention. She seemed like a petulant child for most of the novel, even though she's older than most characters you might usually see in this position (19). That said, she wasn't a deal breaker for the book. I suppose all of it was necessary to show just how much she changes by the end of the book. (In my opinion, not much.)

Because of this, I couldn't ever really figure out why Alec liked her so much. Alec himself wasn't too bad. I'll admit, he wasn't the most swoonworthy of Klassen's male lead characters, but he was noble. He was sweet and charming, although he could be a bit stuck-up, when it came to manual labor and such. (He's a gentleman after all.) 

I did love the secondary characters a lot. Patience, James, and Walter Allen were among my favorites. (I want a book about one of them. I don't care which, just one of the Allen's. Or all of the Allen's. Write ALL the things!) I loved the friendship between them and Alec and Julia. I also loved how they were as a family, their parents included. I liked Ben and Tess Thorne and all the other townspeople. And of course, Alec's mother, and sister Aurora. Some of them weren't the most developed secondary characters I've ever read, but they were a lot of fun and kept a smile on my face.

Lady Amelia, Julia's mother, was one of my favorites. I very much enjoyed the small scenes from her POV, as well as the flashbacks. They taught us so much more about the story. They also showed us that she isn't some overbearing, crazy strict mother as Julia would have us believe. She's been hurt by Julia nearly as much as Julia's been hurt by her. Not to mention, all the other hurt she's experienced in her life. Her and Julia may not act in the best way about their feelings, which is partially responsible for all the hurt that keeps piling up, but they eventually see the error of their ways and start fixing things between them.

The plot itself was also very much well-written. The book is slightly long, and in places seemed to drag, but other than that, it was great. The secrets and mysteries surrounding the characters will keep you guessing. Although some of the "twists" were predictable, that didn't take away (much) when you actually found out the truth. And there are some twists that you won't see coming, that will not go as you thought it would.

I will say, the religious aspect of this was sort of non-existent most of the way through, and then it was just...there. Slightly awkward placing, almost randomly. I feel that for it to have been more effective, it should have been immersed throughout the entire book.

Even with its few faults, I loved this book just like all her other ones, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is loves historical or Regency romances, clean romance, or Christian romances.

*This novel is Christian fiction

I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Julie Klassen:

No comments:

Post a Comment