the dancing master by Julie Klassen

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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