Book Review: Flamenco Baby by Cherry Radford (DNF)

Flamenco Baby by Cherry RadfordHaving read and enjoyed Cherry Radford’s previous book, Men Dancing, I was pleased to be offered her second book for review. Reading back my review for that book, I notice that I mention there that at points, I was confused what was going on.

In Flamenco Baby, I got confused too often to enjoy the book as a comfortable read. I tried for 100 pages, but then gave up.

Flamenco Baby: What it is about

From the author’s website: “Musician and dance enthusiast Yolande has just finished with yet another faithless boyfriend, even though her body clock is ticking wildly and she longs for a child. However much gay best friend and ideal man Jeremy adores her, he refuses to be the father.

Should she relent and take back her repentant ex? Conceive with a sperm donor? She has become entranced by flamenco, music of the outcasts… Could seeds secretly planted at a London flamenco evening with enigmatic dancer Fernando Morales begin to flower into a ‘flamenco baby’?

Then, while Yolande starts a cosy relationship with a teacher on her flamenco course in Granada, Jeremy becomes drawn to Fernando – and so begins a whirl of secrecy, love and jealousy that has them all wondering if, in the spirit of flamenco, they dare to give the truth…

Flamenco Baby: What I thought

Yolande, at 39 and newly single, is desperate for a baby. Her best male friend is gay and she’d happily have a child with him, if he only would agree. Then she meets an interesting Spanish Flamenco dancer…

This all started off well. I was curious to know how this story would develop. However, from the beginning I had to work really hard to understand the story. The characters weren’t explained, I had to infer their relationship to Yolande, sometimes pages after they were introduced. I also didn’t always understand the settings. At some point I thought Yolande was visiting her sister in Jersey but then is home two pages later, without having traveled. When she is in Spain, I don’t understand who are in her respective classes. When I thought there were just Spanish and English students, some Finnish girls are mentioned a page later, and later again, the number of non-Spanish students present didn’t seem to add up with the people I had in mind. These are only a few examples of the issues I got confused with.

I am not a careful reader. I may have missed some bits of information here and there. For instance, there is a mention of a Liz whom I didn’t remember, but paging back I found her mentioned once before.

I think for me, there was too much “show, not tell” in this book. I had to work (too) hard to understand the story. When at page 100, that Liz (see above) was mentioned and I didn’t recognise her, and there was no mention that the scene described was “the next day” (which was kind of obvious, but not totally), my irritation reached boiling point. It does not harm to state the kind-of obvious every now and then, to better anchor the story in place and time. The story was kept vague, maybe because the author considers her readers clever enough to figure it out for themselves.

If you can get over that, this could be a fun story. The flamenco classes and the setting in Spain were new to me, and could make for a good read.

Rating: No rating, did not finish the book

Number of pages: 394 (read to page 100)

First published: 2013, February

I got this: from the author for review

Genre: contemporary fiction


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

15 Responses to Book Review: Flamenco Baby by Cherry Radford (DNF)

  1. Isi says:

    What a shame you couldn’t set yourself in the story. I really don’t like flamenco, so I think I’m not going to read the book.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I don’t think you have to like flamenco to enjoy the book, Isi. But I think if you’re *not* Spanish and think of Spanish men as dark, handsome strangers, you might like the book better than if you’re Spanish and meet all kinds of boring Spanish men every day (as you surely must do).

      • Isi says:

        Ohh yes, all the Spanish men seem to be like Antonio Banderas to foreign people, is it? 😉

        Girls of the world: NO, we don’t have Antonios Banderas everywhere. It’s a shame, but we have common men and women here.

        Now I feel better.

      • Leeswammes says:

        We have to dream, Isi, and Spanish men are definitely the thing of dreams (even when in Spain!).

  2. Suzanne says:

    The premise of the book does sound good, it is too bad it was not executed well.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Suzanne, for me, it didn’t work. It wasn’t badly written or plotted at all, I just didn’t like the way I was left in the lurch about certain things.

  3. Charlie says:

    Everything you’ve said here, there are surely too many points to simply be a case of less careful reading – it definitely sounds an issue with the book. Development and letting the reader know important things without them having to guess (barring thriller/mystery things, of course) is necessary, and it is off-putting when you don’t know where you are. This review was really very good however 🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Charlie. DNF reviews are hard to write. I didn’t read the book as an editor, but I have edited books before and I would certainly get my red pen out with this one. But… it’s also a matter of taste. 🙂

  4. Melinda says:

    I really admire you for abadoning a book when you don’t like it and then still write a review on it 🙂 I honestly couldn’t do it.

    • Leeswammes says:

      It says so in my review policy, Melinda and who am I to ignore my own rules? 🙂

      I try to be fair, and I always think it’s a personal thing, too. Sometimes the exact reasons I don’t like a book are reasons for someone else to try it. Plus, a “negative” review is still publicity.

      • Melinda says:

        True! (Sometimes the exact reasons I don’t like a book are reasons for someone else to try it)

        PS: I meant this as a compliment 🙂
        I force myself to finish a book even if I don’t like it.

  5. It’s a shame this title didn’t work out. If you’re interested in books involving Spanish dancing set in Spain I can recommend ‘Whip Smart, Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards’ by Kit Brennan and ‘The Return’ by Victoria Hislop.

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