The Dancing Master

Written by Julie Klassen
Review by Tamela McCann

Alec Valcourt, a dancing master by trade, finds himself and his family at the mercy of his uncle’s generosity in the village of Beaworthy, but ever-hopeful, Alec plans to start over with an academy of his own. Unfortunately, the town is under the strict supervision of Lady Amelia Midwinter, and she does not want dancing in any form to engage her people due to a painful episode 20 years earlier. Alec is forced to take a position as clerk to Lady Amelia, and this brings him in contact with the lovely daughter of the house, feisty Julia. Julia’s fighting her own problems; she feels oppressed by her mother and longs to go to a London season and escape Beaworthy.  When a long held family secret comes to light, both Julia and Alec will have to decide if the truth is worth risking all they hold dear and how far they are willing to go to achieve their dreams.

Klassen always writes engaging historical fiction with Christian overtones that are neither heavy-handed nor obtrusive. While I was invested in this story, however, I never really warmed up to the petulant Julia nor her mother, regardless of their reasons for their behavior. In fact, even Alec is a bit of a prig; I was taken aback whenever he ordered a ginger beer at the local establishment because it just seemed out of character for the Regency period. Overall, most of the characters are rather flat though there is some character growth. This may not be Klassen’s best work, but it is still very enjoyable nonetheless.