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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?
The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen was a sweet and heart-warming novel that delved into the meaning of love, forgiveness, and not holding grudges and assuming the worst of people. The storyline was well-paced and built up slowly to revealing the large number of secrets that surrounded the small village of Devonshire. The plot included elements of mystery, romance, suspense, and different ranges of emotions that all added to the coherence of the novel. The novel was a third person narrative, but alternated between the perspectives of Julia and Alec with her mother occasionally sharing events from her point of view. The slow and measured pace of The Dancing Master really allowed the characters and their interactions with one another to shine through and made them very realistic and well developed. I liked the fact that the relationship between Alec and Julia began gradually and that other characters helped them understand their own personalities as well as more about one another. I really liked Alec; I thought he was a respectful, driven young man who was seeking to make up for past family mistakes. Julia, however, took me longer to like. She started out as a spoiled brat who does not respect her family or the village she lives in. However, as she learns more about her past and about God, her perspective on life, God, and her family change dramatically, and I could identify with her more.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen, and I look forward to reading more of her novels.
I received this novel from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.