"The Dancing Master"
"The Dancing Master" by Julie Klassen is published by Bethany House on January 7, 2014. It is a stand-alone book.
Alec Valcourt and his family are a mess. Because of an incident with his father and one of the family's dancing academy's students, the Valcourts are disgraced and forced to flee London to avoid charges. Alec, his mother, and his sister come to live with his uncle on his mother's side in Beaworthy. Alec attempts to open a dancing and fencing academy in Beaworthy so he can provide for his mother and sister. However, no one will open up, and everyone looks at him with suspicion and disdain. Alec can't figure out why; no word of the reason for their sudden departure from London has been leaked. Then he finds out that Beaworthy has a most unusual, unspoken rule: no dancing.
Julia Midwinter is sick and tired of not being able to attend a ball or party, and wants desperately to go to London, but her mother, Lady Amelia Midwinter, forbids it. Lady Amelia has declared that there be no dancing, and no dancing masters, in Beaworthy. When Julia meets Alec, she flirts constantly with him, as she has with all other men because her father never loved her.
This book, honestly, was very lackluster for me. The research done and time invested were very apparent, and the effort was incredible, but I just could not make myself enjoy the book. I have read several of this author's books and have always been impressed with the details and intricacy of her books, but this just did not seem to measure up to them. It is advertised as being a historical romantic mystery, but there was no romance to the romance - only frustration, and no mystery to the mystery - only a lack of communication. The characters were deep in their pains and their past, but the reconciliation was abrupt and deficient. I think that the characters were excellent and very interesting, by only looking at their backgrounds, and can tell the author is amazing creative. Mainly, it was the plot lacking. The characters pretty much just sit around all day, except Alec occasionally gets harassed by the town's wrestling champs. Overall, there was a lot of potential for this book, but even about halfway through, nothing really notable had happened! I wanted to like this book, truly, because I have such high expectations for this author after having read her previous works. As I mentioned before, the characters were superb, but that was all.
Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers and Net galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.