The Dancing Master  -     By: Julie Klassen
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The Dancing Master

Bethany House / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

Leaving London, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire---but is stunned to discover that dancing is prohibited! He finds an unlikely ally in Miss Julia Midwinter, but her questions about his past are becoming harder to evade. Together, can they bring new life to this quiet village---and heal long-kept-secret scars?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 416
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 076421070X
ISBN-13: 9780764210709

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Publisher's Description

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.

Praise for Julie Klassen's The Tutor's Daughter

"Whether you're a fan of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, or both, you will soon become a fan of Julie Klassen once you read this wonderful book."--GoodReads

"Well-developed characters, plot twists, and attention to period detail make this a sure bet for fans of Regency novels."--Library Journal

"Regency/Klassen fans will love the mystery, romance, and drama."--Publishers Weekly

Discussion questions included.

Author Bio

Three-time Christy Award winner Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more at

Product Reviews

4.2 Stars Out Of 5
4.2 out of 5
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.1 out Of 5
(4.1 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 63
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  1. Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I couldn't put it down.
    December 16, 2014
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    I really enjoyed reading this book. It was really interesting how so many people are affected by decisions that were made in the past. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
  2. Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Oh my...
    April 6, 2014
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    The Valcourt family has had to flee London in the wake of a tremendous scandal. With nowhere else to go, Alec Valcourt brings his mother and sister, Aurora, to the small village of Beaworthy to live with their Uncle Ramsey. Alec is a dancing and fencing master, like his father and grandfather before him, but only after they arrive does Alec then discovers that dancing has been banned by the local village matriarch.

    Ok, I know I'm going to be in the minority here, but I have to say, in my opinion, this is not Julie Klassen's best work.

    There were several things in this book that I had problems and the two main characters being the biggest of them. Alex Valcourt just wasn't any kind of hero. With no money and needing to support his sister and mother, he refuses to do any work that will get his hands dirty. He insists that the only way he will earn any money is teaching dancing and fencing. For lack of a better tem, this guy needed to "man up" and do what was necessary to feed his family. By refusing to do anything except what he wanted to do, made him come across as selfish and cold.

    Julie Midwinter, the village matriarch's daughter, entered onto the scene as a spoiled rebellious girl with little respect for anyone and unfortunately she stays that way throughout most of the book. Oh there was a bit of a change in her by the end, but I'm sorry to say by then it was just too late for me.

    I do have to say that the only character that really caught my interest was the blacksmith's son. For spoiler reasons, I won't name him, but I thought he was fascinating. I wish he had had a bigger part in the overall story.

    The story itself was interesting. There was wonderful detail in the description of the characters and giving us an overall picture of the village and surrounding landscape, but I would have like have seen the plot move faster. It seemed to plod and drag in to many places and there didn't seem to be too much that caught my attention enough to keep reading. In fact I was able to put the book down several times to read other things and I had a hard to picking it back up again.

    There was one thing that I kept questioning in the story. Although dancing was forbidden, fencing was not, yet Alec insisted that it be a fencing and dancing school. So why not just teach fencing? To me it seemed a logical solution to Alec problems.

    At the end of day, this book is not for everyone. Some will love it, others will like it, but to be honest, this particular book just really isn't my cup of tea and after reading the back cover if this was written by any other author but Julie Klassen, I would have passed it up.
  3. British Columbia, Canada
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I like the author's Jan Austen like style.
    April 5, 2014
    Betty Booper
    British Columbia, Canada
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I loved the story but, I have only one criticism of the font(print or type) being so small that it was extremely difficult to read.

    It would have been better if the book was published as two books or more and the font(print or type) was bigger.

    Keep writing the books!
  4. Greer, SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Delightful Read
    March 4, 2014
    Greer, SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I have never read a book by Julie Klassen, but I enjoyed this first read. I found the history of dancing to be quite interesting and felt that Klassen did an excellent job researching and detailing each step of each dance. I am sure that was not easy to detail, and I appreciated her attempt to make the dances come alive.

    I think it was probably a typical Christian romance novel, but it did seem like there were more possible connections than simply Alec and Julia. In many novels, it seems like there are a lack of potential suitors or interesting women. I appreciated the author creating more appealing characters.

    I was a little disappointed in the abrupt ending, though. It seemed as though the author just got tired of writing and decided to wrap up the story in a neat package. I would have liked to see a little more development of the ending.

    Overall, I felt like this was a decent read, and I look forward to reading some more of this author's work.

    *This book was provided to me by Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion.
  5. Stafford, VA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautifully Written!
    March 4, 2014
    Kezziah June
    Stafford, VA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This was one of those books that had me from the start. I seriously couldn't put it down, and kept going till I had finished all 419 pages! (It's a long book, but it's seriously THAT good!)

    The story is about a dancing master, Alec Valcourt, who moved from London to Devonshire with his mother and sister to "start over". Problem is that the town he moved to had prohibited all dancing because of the town matriarch, Lady Amelia Midwinter. That was definitely not a good day for him, when he learned about the prohibition! Fortunately for Alec, the feeling doesn't run in the family, and he finds both a friend and a somewhat unlikely ally in Lady Midwinter's daughter, Julia (who enjoys things that are daring and against the way her mother wants them to be!). Together, they build a friendship, and change a lot about the ways things are done in their community. Not just the "rules" everyone observes, but the relationships people have with each other too.

    The book is filled with unexpected things, unlikely friendships, and connections that you never saw coming, but the ending was somewhat predictable. While the ending may have been expected, the way they got there definitely wasn't. I appreciated that the book wasn't just a work of fiction that could be considered "mindless reading", but it really, really made you think. It wasn't just about dancing, rules, and traditions_ it also included two different stories of redemption, and they were beautifully written.

    Completely not related to anything in the book, but related to the cover - the back cover gives the normal description of the story, and underneath that, it gives praise for the book. That may sound normal, but what struck me as strange was how the praise wasn't for this book - it was for another one of the author's books. I actually thought I might be going crazy as I read that, so I pulled a few books off my bookshelf to make sure, but I was right - books do typically have praise for that book_ not another one. I'm not sure if the praise is for this book and just lists the wrong book, but it does fit. Still, I thought that was strange.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.
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