Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: January 7, 2014
Paperback, 419 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1070-9
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:
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 Julia 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?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.

My thoughts:

Think Footloose set in the 1800's. This book has a lot in common with that movie:

1. Small town where dancing is forbidden due to some tragic accident.
2. Small-town girl itching to get out from under her mother's thumb.
3. Boy moves to small town stirring up trouble.

And while The Dancing Master does have a lot in common with the movie, it also has many differences as well. Differences that make it stand out from the movie.

Julia is the small-town girl. For as long as she remembers there has been no dancing in her small town of Devonshire. She's a bit scandalous for her age in that she goes out without a chaperon and dances without gloves. She has a rocky relationship with her mother mostly because Julia longs for independence and acceptance. 

Alec is a dancing master. He had to leave London under a dark cloud. He feels that Devonshire will be his redemption. What he finds instead is a town stuck in a rut. And because he's a dancing master in a town that doesn't allow dancing, he's a bit of an outcast. So of course, Julia is attracted to him. Alec is a gentleman who just wants to make an honest living doing something he loves. 

The story line in this book is interesting. At first, it was like Footloose, but then it broke out into a more original story. There's a mystery as to what happened to make dancing forbidden, and what happened to Alec that made him want to leave London. These elements plus some really great characters makes an enjoyable story. 

I've read several books by Julie Klassen and have enjoyed them immensely. Klassen has a way of writing these sweet romance books that make you cheer for the characters. This book is no exception. I hope that Klassen writes these books for many years to come. 

My rating: