Friday, January 24, 2014

A Review: "The Dancing Master" by Julie Klassen

The Dancing Master"The Dancing Master" by Julie Klassen introduces the reader to Alec Valcourt, a London dancing and fencing master who was forced to relocate with his mother and sister to the village of Beaworthy after a scandal forces them to leave London. Shortly upon relocating, the family learns that dancing has been forbidden, an unwritten law for the last twenty years. As Alec attempts to find his way in a new profession while his heart lies with dancing and fencing, he encounters the Midwinter family, the leading family in the village. Lady Amelia Midwinter appears stoic and aloof, but harbors family secrets. Her daughter, Julia, is an unabashed flirt, reckless, and headstrong, yet longing to find the affection and love that she's been missing from her own family.

While much of the story is told from Alec's point of view, there is a good deal told from Julia's, as well as a small amount from Lady Midwinter's. At times it was a little hard to follow because Lady Midwinter's memories and Julia's daydreams were interjected without any real transition.

Normally, I really like Klassen's work. Her stories are typically very solid and engaging. But this one was missing that spark, that something special that really drew me in to the story. Maybe it was because this was her first story that was told primarily from the man's point of view. Maybe it was because Julia was simply not a very likeable character. There were many other secondary characters that were more likeable and deserved greater development.

The first half of the book was pretty slow to start and I often found it dragging. The plot picked up in the second half as the story developed further. It still wasn't enough to salvage the book for me. Overall, it was just an okay read. As much as I enjoy Julie Klassen's work, I just can't recommend this particular book. If you are new to her work, start with her earlier ones before diving into this one.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

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