Book Review: The Dancing Master

Happy Monday! Need a book to read during this March snowy/icy week? How about Julie Klassen’s The Dancing Master? It is a fun read that I’m excited to share with you today. I was sent a free copy of this novel as part of  Bethany House Publishers‘ book review program.

The Dancing Master #bookreview on

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

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.

And as usual, my five point review:

  • I use Goodreads to help me find new books. [Follow me!] Sometimes before beginning a new book, I’ll peruse the reviews before I begin reading [non-spoiler ones, that is] and one of the first ones I saw was that this book is “Footloose in Regency England!” How fun, I thought–and it was. An all around fun read.
  • My biggest gripe about The Dancing Master was that everything was soooooo drawwwwwn outttttt. Writing like that reminds me of my sister, circa 2007. But seriously, it takes forever to learn WHY dancing has been all but outlawed in this tiny town, and even then, it’s a pretty outlandish reason. Maybe it wouldn’t have been outlandish back in Regency times but it seemed sort of silly today.
  • There were lots of secrets in this book, and I liked that the reader didn’t learn secrets before the characters do. Many good books are set up that way, but sometimes it is fun to try to figure out the mysterious events as the characters do.
  • Speaking of characters, many times I like the main female leads in these cheesy romances. This time? Not so much. I think Julia learns a lot throughout the events in the novel, but something about her rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn’t that she was super spoiled or selfish; she’s just annoying at times. She has a few good friends though [including Alec’s sister] that I would really like to know better. A spinoff perhaps? Alec was very likeable. I enjoyed hearing a lot of the story from his point of view–a bit unusual, the male perspective, but very good.
  • All in all, this was a good book. Fun. Exciting. Unpredictable [well, as much as romances are]. I enjoyed the setting and the history lesson about the upperclass social graces of the time. Dancing masters also taught fencing, so it was fun to read about Alec fencing too. Hope you enjoy this book like I did!

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!


6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dancing Master”

  1. Sarah: I can always count on you to have fresh information on your blog. Great job! Enjoy your week. Hello to Ben. — Don


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