Do you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, but also love the elegance of ballroom dancing, beautiful gowns, and oh-so-proper courtships of Jane Austen’s Regency-era stories? Well, award-winning author Julie Klassen has combined the best of both genres into a masterful tale you won’t want to miss. The Dancing Master, published by Bethany House early in 2014, is an extremely well-written Regency novel filled with mystery, romance, drama, and enough plot twists to keep you guessing until the end.
Although The Dancing Master is longer than most novels of its kind, the intricate storyline and vast amount of historical details help it move along quickly. Clearly Ms. Klassen has taken painstaking care to ensure historical accuracy, but only includes information relevant to the circumstances, and does not overwhelm readers with unnecessary descriptions. Many aspects of 19th century dancing are woven into the story, giving readers a taste of the grace and art required to master the often-complicated steps required in a ballroom.
Certainly one of the most enjoyable features of the book are the various quotes at the beginning of each chapter hinting at upcoming story events, but written by real people of the time period. Advertisements for actual dancing masters, excerpts from diaries, and quotations from Jane Austen are just a few of the interesting historical samples chosen to open each chapter.
Although the in-depth historical depictions play a vital role in The Dancing Master, they do not in any way detract from the intriguing storyline and colorful characters, but rather intensify the feeling of reality for the reader. Told from several perspectives, we see the story unfold through the eyes of two primary characters who, by the story’s end, we are certain to relate to in some way, big or small. Woven into the story are the timeless themes, and truths, of love and grace portrayed in many different ways.
In short, The Dancing Master was a delight to read, both for its page-turning plot and fascinating attention to historical detail. Although a few portions of the story were somewhat objectionable, including several interwoven scandals, they were treated and reacted to appropriately – as scandalous! Ultimately, if you are looking for a longer, masterfully written novel set in the classic Regency time period and filled with truths of God’s design, look no further than The Dancing Master.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.