Audiobook Review: Dancing Lessons by R. Cooper, Narrated by Brian Schell

Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins

Two years of living with his controlling boyfriend left Chico worn down long before that boyfriend revealed he’d been seeing someone else. With no other choice, Chico moves in above his cousin’s garage in a small town in the redwoods, where he merely goes through the motions. To get him out of the house, his cousin pushes him to volunteer at a local dance studio to help with their annual show.

He’s not expecting to end up in a dance class, or to start feeling alive again in the arms of his dance instructor. Rafael is the studio owners’ son and was once a well-known dancer in his own right, but now enjoys being a teacher. Although Chico likes him, he’s afraid of taking a chance. But Rafael is determined, and it only takes one dance for Chico to start to realize he might still have something to learn.

I have to separate the ratings on this one . . .



I read and reviewed Dancing Lessons back in January and loved it, I gave it 4 ½ hearts and I gushed about all the things. It’s a quiet love story set in a small town with charming characters and sweet and subtle moments. If you are interested in the story I would highly recommend you read it, you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s my original review for all my reasons of loving on these guys.

When the audio came up for review I jumped at it, who wouldn’t want to hear Rafael’s voice?

Chico at one point says “the dance teacher was some king of sexy dancer whisperer”.

In the book, yes. Yes, he is.

In the narration, no. No, he is not.

He’s your Great Uncle Carl waxing monotonically about Great Aunt Debbie’s pickle muffins. He’s reading you the Poky Little Puppy from Little Golden Books to put you to sleep, and it’s working. The Midwestern(?) accent doesn’t work with the setting or the characters.

Note: The accent may not be Midwestern, I could be completely off my geographical rocker, my apologies, but it’s from somewhere with snow and quaint soliloquies.

The book is set in California. I live in California. Californians do not sound like that.

To be fair, the narrator’s voice is clear and concise, it just was an absolute mismatch for this story and that is so unfortunate. In a book full of subtle moments, those moments have to be done just so to realize the impact of the little touches and the shy words. What isn’t said is as important as what is and unfortunately every character had the same voice and I mentally clocked out too often for a book of just over five hours. Well, when I wasn’t clocked out I was being fussy because I really wanted to love the audio for this book and I couldn’t do it.

Unfortunately this was a missed opportunity for what could have been an amazing story on audio, but in the end the mismatch between the narrator and the book just plain killed the moments and I cannot recommend getting the audio for this one. But I’ll always stand by my rec to read Chico and Raf’s story. I’ll be rereading it soon to get my version of them back in my head.

For more information on the book,  Dancing Lessons, check it out at Dreamspinner Press.

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

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