Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 12 hours, 12 minutes
Training Season is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite romance authors, Leta Blake. I absolutely adore this story of figure skater Matty Marcus, who spends a winter in rural Montana housesitting while he recovers from a skating injury. There he meets rancher Rob Lovely, and the two men change each other’s lives. These guys are amazing together, romantic and sexy, kinky and tender. And they are so good for one another. Rob helps Matty not only gain the confidence he needs to go forward in his skating career, but also helps him learn that sometimes he will have to accept defeat no matter how hard he works. And Matty helps Rob realize that he needs to work toward his own dream, and not let other people’s expectations limit what he thinks he can do.
I truly love everything about this story and gush about it at length in my original review. So you can check that out for more about the book and why I think it is so fabulous.
Given my feelings about the story, it is not surprise I snatched it right up when I heard it was out in audio. Michael Ferraiuolo is a new-to-me narrator and I think he did a fabulous job with this story. I find that for me one of the most important aspects in an audiobook is for the narrator to get the right tone, especially when it’s a book I have read as well. And Ferraiuolo gets it just perfect here. He manages to convey the slow pace of life in Montana, Matty’s personal sparkle, Rob’s steadiness, and the right combination of angst, tenderness, and sexiness.
While this isn’t an audio that is heavily “performed,” the characters all have distinct voices that fit well. Rob has a steady calm about him that befits his character, and Ferraiuolo manages to capture the intensity of his Dom moments, of that strong confident voice, so well. Matty is appropriately light and femme based on his character, but not over-the-top, which I appreciated. The side characters are generally voiced quite well, including the female characters. And I particularly liked that Rob’s son Ben’s voice changes as he ages in the story. I think Matty’s friend Elliot sounds a bit too nasal and campy for my taste, but overall I think the voices fit the characters really well and Ferraiuolo captures them wonderfully.
This is a story with a lot of intimate moments, including some intense kink dynamics, and Ferraiuolo handles them well too. Not just the voices, but the vulnerability and tenderness. There are scenes where Matty really opens up and has some major growth by letting himself be exposed and bringing down his walls and the narration really captures that intensity and emotion.
So Training Season is a favorite of mine and I think the audio here is excellent. It really enhances an already wonderful story, and I can definitely recommend this book in either format.