Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Report & #Giveaway : The Dancing Master, By Julie Klassen

I'm nothing if not a rabid fan of Julie Klassen. I was very excited to receive her latest book and very intrigued by the premise. That makes this book review a difficult one to write. My feelings are mixed.

Wonderful things about the book:

  • Pure Regency-- through and through. As I've come to expect, Julie Klassen delivered the flavor, the ambiance, the magic, and the sentiment of the era. It's Downton Abbey meets The Paradise in a clash of beauty, misplaced heroes, and entitled heroines.
  • The characters are all rich, stand a lone people who aren't clones of previous novels or boring little personages. They are lively, well thought out, and intriguing.
  • Content -- superb, as usual. Julie Klassen takes us into the world of dancing masters (something I never knew existed) and pulls back the layers one by one. Social standing, debonair, cultural, and ridiculously important to the day.

So what makes this book review difficult?

  • It took me a while to nail why I was having such a hard time becoming attached to the book. While well written and overall a good story, it wasn't one that kept me up until midnight or that page turner I've so come to expect. But I believe it finally dawned on me when I realized the majority of the story is written from the point of view of the HERO. The male counterpoint to the heroine, who interestingly enough, gets very little "alone" time in the book where I can attach myself to her emotionally. I was unattached and because her character is more like sandpaper to another woman (flirtatious, disrespectful, and vain), it was hard to wrap my heart around her and cheer for revolution in her world.
  • The hero's perspective was FANTASTIC, but nonetheless, I spent the vast majority of the book trying to muster up respect for him when he was crushing on the vain heroine and had beautiful, graceful, selfless other females around him equally as eligible. It almost made the dancing master himself a tad shallow.
  • While it all resolves itself in the end, I needed to be more invested in their inner struggles at the beginning and the plot revealed itself so slowly, by mid-way I was wondering when the story would start outside of the day to day life of a misplaced dancing master turned clerk.
I don't mean to give this a bad review because the writing quality is exceptional and I do believe this comes down to personal taste and not so much bad vs good book. It was too slow for my tastes and I would much rather have the main point of view be the female's. Although difficult in this context, because it really is HIS story. SO...kudos to Julie Klassen for trying something out of the box. I am STILL a rabid fan and WILL get her next book. Just be prepared for an open mind and a different read if you pick up the Dancing Master.

And I'll give away a copy too!! SO enter your comments below and let me know ... what's your thought on my rather melancholy book review?

Last week's winner of Dear Mr. Knightley is Heidi!


  1. I have to say your review intrigued me even more to read the book because of the difference in writing! :)

  2. The book still sounds like it would be a lovely read, and I think knowing ahead of time what it was that put another reader off is sometimes helpful. I would know going into it that it's a different point of view than I might have expected. Besides, it's not realistic to love every aspect of every book - and it's quite possible to enjoy reading something that might not meet expectations in every way. This one is on my "to read" list and will stay there until I read it!

  3. Wow, I loved the honesty of your review. I am intrigued at the viewpoint of the hero. I think you did a great job at explaining your thoughts! I still want to read it for the fact of your review alone making it sound different. :) So job well done. lol

  4. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book but yours is the first that mentioned the influence of the hero's POV. I'm glad I know that so my expectations aren't unreasonably high and I won't be too disappointed if it's not what I expected. Thanks for your honest review!

  5. I always read online reviews before I purchase a book. Your review has intrigued me just like it has the other ones that have commented. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  6. Love to read an honest review... it seems most just gush over books and I know that can't like everything they read. I didn't enjoy Julie's last book and much as her first several, but would love to give this one a try.


  7. Thanks for your review, Jaime!! "To each his own" - not everyone enjoys the same books, or the same elements in a book! I agree with the other commenters - at least I will know what to expect now when I read the book. Other reviews I've read about "The Dancing Master" rated it highly, but as I said - everyone has different tastes as to what they are looking for in a book. I haven't read any of Julie's books - so will have no others to compare "The Dancing Master" with when I read it.


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