Disclosure: I received a free review copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
The Dancing Master offers a glimpse of what life was like in the past when dancing and fencing were part of proper etiquette. As a reader unfamiliar to Klassen's works, I was happy to read this book, I would give this book a 3 out of 5. I would not mind picking up the author's other books because I like the "Jane Austen" type kind of time period.
A bit about the book:
Dancing and Fencing Master Alec Valcourt moves to a town which seems to have been shackled due to unforgiveness. The town seems devoid of life and someone harboring a secret. Trying to forge a life of his own to support his family, he disappointingly finds that his profession is looked down upon and banned. He finds himself in a precarious position as his uncle encourages him to work hard manual labor or to work for a cold hearted Mrs. Midwinter. As we follow Alec we meet the young Julia Midwinter and find her the opposite of her mother. His dark past seems to flood to the present as he finds himself thinking way too much about the flirtatious Julia.
As far as my rating goes for this book: I chose this rating because I felt that the fact that dancing was banned played a bigger role in this book and was mentioned so many times that it got in the way of truly developing characters. I just felt it a bit redundant throughout the book and that other back stories and characters would have benefited from further development if there were fewer mentions of how dancing was banned.
The main plots and secrets that go throughout this book were intriguing enough to keep me reading. Klassen's characters are loveable and memorable. I also am thankful for the modesty in the matters of romance in this book. Not too many romance books these days are modest, and I was thankful for Klassen's style. I loved the ending, though I wish the tone and passion that was felt in the ending were present enough throughout the entirety of the book (In reference to Julia's transformation). Excellent ending!