Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dancing Master - By Julie Klassen

Julia Midwinter has felt unloved and out of place for most of her life.  Stuck in a small town that seems joyless, due in part to her own mother's influence that has driven dance and frivolity away for the past 20 years, she longs to explore the world, and dreams of marrying any man who might take her away.  When Alec Valcourt arrives, bringing with him his background of dancing master, tensions grow and secrets come out that force the people of the town to look hard at themselves and their pasts to determine what their future might be.

I was drawn into this book by the beautiful cover, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it.  The characters stayed stuck in their secrets and selfishness for a large majority of the book, with the only growth or change happening quickly, all at once, at the end.  The epilogue was nice to wrap things up, but even it felt abrupt, tying the loose ends together in just a couple of pages.  I didn't feel very connected to any of the characters, because the main ones weren't likable, and the interesting ones weren't featured enough to be drawn into.  Julia and her mother spend most of the book hiding things from each other and being upset at their lack of connection, without actually ever trying to connect to each other.  Alec spends much of the book only focusing on getting his career back in line, without examining his life or his father's mark on it.

There was enough secret and mystery that I did find myself wanting to find out how everything was to come together, and so I give this book 3 stars.  The humility and self-realizations that happened at the end of the book were vulnerable and refreshing, but I wish there had been more growth along the way.  I freely acknowledge that this time setting and style is not my cup of tea, so it is completely possible that if you are more of a Jane Austen fan, you may enjoy this much more than I did.

You can find The Dancing Master HERE.
You can find Julie Klassen's site HERE.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

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