Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen (Litfuse Blog Tour & Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway)

January 18, 2014

Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 424
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1070-9
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014

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.
Julie Klassan sweeps us back to regency England again with her beautiful writing style and superb attention to detail in The Dancing Master. As with the previous book that I have read, The Tutor's Daughter, Julie is able to mix Jane Austen with Charlotte Bronte.

As The Dancing Master starts off, we are presented with many questions. What is Lady Amelia Midwinter mourning and why does it seem she is keeping the town of Beaworthy hostage to her mourning by canceling the May Day festivities for the last twenty years and why is dancing forbidden? This is what Julia, Lady Amelia's daughter wants to know. She wants to know the history behind her mothers anger toward dancing, why Lady Amelia only mourns her brother and not her sister.

A little over a year later, three new residents appear in town. Alec Valcourt, along with his mother and sister have come to Beaworthy to reside with Alec's uncle and to find a new position in work. Upon arriving however, Alec learns his trade is not appreciated in the small town, as he is former dancing master in London. However, all is not as it appears with Alec and his family, as they hold secrets almost as deep as the Midwinter family.

The book started off a bit slow for me. Julia reminded me a bit of Emma, from Jane Austen, more of the book then the movie. Because of that, it was harder to read through her parts, since I wasn't a fan of the book Emma. Unlike Emma, Julia is desperate to marry so she can explore the world and get away from Beaworthy. In doing so, Julia doesn't mind putting her in a position that could ruin her reputation. Alec to me was a quiet hero, to the point where he does get beat up in a fight, but he learns from it and is able to out smart his opponent. He is also a determined man, who doesn't mind pushing against the restrictions placed on him. As the story progressed and Julia started to grow up a bit more and the secrets started to revel themselves, the story was able to hook me and kept me turning pages to find out more about what these characters were hiding.

3 1/2 out of 5

About the Author:
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 is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Learn more about Julie at:


Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master. Enter and RSVP today!

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the "All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)" Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen DVDs, fun "Jane" merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Great review, Kate. I had much of the the same thoughts about this story. :)

  2. Thanks, Rissi! I noticed many others had the same thoughts.


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