Title: Dancing Lessons
Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 129 Pages
At a Glance: Sweet, genuine and remarkably gentle, this story glides across the page and dances directly into your heart.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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.
Review: Honestly, I cannot remember a character that grabbed my heart so completely as Chico did, in a very long time. From his crippling belief that he would simply never live up to the hateful and narcissistic standard his cheating ex set for him, to his sweetly naive revelations upon discovering Rafael actually likes him, Chico was simply magical. While it could be said that he was molded in that same stale cast as most wounded exes often are in this genre, it must also be noted there was something remarkably fresh about this character. Chico really struggled to make it out of bed each day—dealing with a depression so crippling due to a cheating and controlling boyfriend who continually reminded him that anything he attempted to do to make their life together special, fell flat. He was useless Chico, failure Chico, not nearly good enough Chico, and he swallowed every lie he was told right up until his bastard of an ex informed him he would need to move out so the new boyfriend could move in. This is the broken man who comes to live with his cousin Davi, and must learn to live in the world, and, most importantly, learn to trust once again.
When Davi pushes Chico to volunteer at the studio, it is with great trepidation and a knowing sense of failure already achieved that Chico ventures forth only to inadvertently stumble into a dance class and become partner to the instructor himself, Rafael. The two have an instant, electrical attraction, but things must go very slowly for Chico—after all, he is hardly in any shape to flirt, much less date—he is not worthy, not ready, useless, a failure. All these things twist and turn through his mind as Rafael steps back and allows Chico to set the pace. Theirs is a stuttered dance of fits and starts where one man sees the possibilities and the other runs hard from them. It takes all Rafael can do to make Chico aware of how beautiful he truly is, and it takes Chico letting go of lies and two years of a relationship that nearly drowned him to really understand that Rafael truly likes him and, perhaps, one day could even love him.
Dancing Lessons by R. Cooper is a beautiful novel of rediscovering oneself and learning to trust that even small things can add up to a future of happiness. Sweet, genuine and remarkably gentle, this story glides across the page and dances directly into your heart. A lovely story from a talented writer, Dancing Lessons will leave you breathless with hope.
You can buy Dancing Lessons here: