©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Dancing Master

Julie Klassen is one of my very favorite authors, who writes historical romance with a bit of difference. She takes on unusual topics in her books and treats them all with the quality of writing that hooks the readers and reels them into the world she is creating with her words.

Julie's newest offering is The Dancing Master, recounting the story of the romance of Alec Valcourt and Julia Midwinter. I found this not to be Julie's best book, but it is still good, nonetheless. Julia hit me as a kind of flibbertigibbet. I thought her characterization was a bit shallow, and her mother's characterization was a bit too abrasive. Alec was a bit self-martyring in his stance not to defend himself against the accusations leveled against his father.

Those are the bad things about the book. Now for the flip side of the coin: In Alec, there is a bit of a rebel in that he defies the understood ban on dancing in the town of Beaworthy in the Devonshire countryside. He opens a dancing and fencing school and even takes on private students. He wants to bring back the traditional May Day dance and bring joy back to the town. Julie's description of the dances reminded me of my folk and square dance class in college and even had me wishing I'd taken ballroom dancing. I recognized some of the dances she described so beautifully. As the story goes on, Julia loses some of her flighty ways and matures. She realizes who she is and who she wants to be and works to accomplish the latter. Her mother also loses some of her acerbity in response to her growing past her bitterness of former events. Overall, Four solid stars!

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