Welcome to JoJo’s Corner.
Even though it’s only January, I’ve already found one of my favorite books of the year …
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–”Jane Eyre” and Jane Austen.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time.
She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
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 LOOK OF THE BOOK-
I think the book has a really beautiful cover! I only wish they had shown Alec’s face on the front (it’s pictured on the spine) because he’s uber-handsome! I love the picture of Buckleigh Manor featured on the back…gorgeous!!! And the green twirlies make the title and author name dance lovely across the cover!
This book was a lot thicker than I expected…but I loved all 419 pages!
Each chapter begins with a dance themed quote- I thought these were very interesting and added so much historical value to the story…loved it! Great discussion questions are included as well.
Alec Valcourt: oh, I felt so sorry for Alec when I first encountered him in the book! He is responsible for his mother and sister’s livelihood and all his life he’s known fencing and dancing, so naturally he would try to make a living doing the things he loves and is good at, but dancing is banned in Beaworthy….major bummer! I loved this character so much! He is so devoted to his talent and his family and is torn between his desire for dance and being able to provide for his family. He just has a very quiet strength about him and he presses on in the face of adversity. Absolutely one of my favorite characters in fiction!
Julia Midwinter: ok honestly she reminded me a lot of Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse. In the beginning, she comes across as very privileged. She sort of crosses the lines of propriety and doesn’t care what people think about her. She speaks her mind, whether appropriate or not. But there is a deep vulnerability that comes across as well, I knew that there was more to this character than what she wanted to portray to others. With great privilege comes great responsibility and there is a pressure on Julia that other people just cannot understand.
Lady Amelia Midwinter: this is Julia’s mother, she is also the village matriarch. She is the one who has banned dancing. To me, her story and reasons behind doing this was part of the mystery of the story. I really wanted to know- why was she so against dancing??? She also warns Alec to stay away from Julia. People in the town fear her, I guess in sort of a reverential way and this comes across well in the story. I enjoyed trying to figure her out.
I literally could not stop reading this book! It was soooo good!
The author draws us into Devonshire and the culture, the families and the atmosphere of this time period and I love it!
She made me care about these characters- all of them.
There were definitely some very unexpected moments and powerful reminders that things aren’t always what they seem.
Grace is a major theme in this book. Something else that stood out to me was Julia’s desire for love. We all need to be reminded that God’s love for us is unfailing- THE DANCING MASTER is a glorious expression of this!
*****5/5 STARS- A 2014 FAVE; GET YOUR OWN COPY*****
Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master. Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the social graces of ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.
One winner will receive:
A Kindle Fire HDX
The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the “All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)” Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen and Jane Eyre DVDs, fun “Jane” merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)