I drive almost an hour to work each day, and most times those drives are accompanied by an audio book. Since I’ve listened to such a variety of audiobooks, I thought I’d list my favorites, starting with adult fiction.
Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen, narrated by Katherine Kellgren.
Her Royal Spyness follows Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line for the throne, in 1930s England. Despite being a royal, Georgianna is utterly broke. When the Queen asks Georgie to subtly spy on her playboy son David and his new friend, the awful Wallis Simpson, Georgie immediately agrees. Now she has a place to stay away from her domineering sister in law, and good food and company. Along the way, Georgie discovers a dead Frenchman in her bathtub and it is up to her to prove her and her family’s innocence. Each book in the series follows Georgie’s adventures trying to find a job, a place to call home, and most importantly, love. I listened to the first three books and I find I cannot read them. I need Katherine Kellgren’s narration, and hear her portrayals of the characters; otherwise, it’s just not the same.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Laura Hamilton
It’s 1999 and Lincoln O’Neill took a job as “Internet Security Office” at the local newspaper. His job isn’t nearly as glamorous as his title implies. Basically, Lincoln reads the staff’s emails when they are flagged for using certain work inappropriate words. When Lincoln comes across a series of messages between two coworkers and friends, Jennifer Scribner-Snyder and Beth Fremont, Lincoln knows he should write his report as usual, but there’s something different about these emails. As they keep showing up in Lincoln’s mailbox, and Lincoln continues to read, he finds himself falling in love with Beth. But how can he strike up a conversation with her, without her hating him?
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, narrated by Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, Alex Tregear, Andrew Wincott, Owen Lindsay
“…I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.”
Louise Clark abruptly finds herself jobless when the cafe she’s worked at forever suddenly closes. Will Traynor suddenly finds himself paralyzed when hit by a motorcycle while crossing the street. Despite growing up in vastly different worlds, the two come together, form an incredible bond, and change each others lives forever.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, narrated by Jenna Lamia
We all know about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his most famous novel, The Great Gatsby, but do you know his wife? Z tells the story of Zelda and Scott, the quintessential couple of the Lost Generation, through Zelda’s eyes. At first everything is new and exciting and glamorous, but eventually, the party must end. And who is Zelda? Is she Scott’s wife? Is she an artist? Is she a mother? Who can say. Fowler brings us a fictionalized biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, told in what I hope, is an accurate portrayal.
The Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig, mostly narrated by Kate Reading (The Temptation of the Night Jasmine narrated by Justine Eyre is not nearly as good)
The Pink Carnation series tells multiple stories. First, there is Eloise Kelly, history PhD candidate from Harvard, off on a research quest in England. Her topic, spies in 18th and 19th century England sounds fascinating, but is awfully hard to research (spies not being known for keeping documents), and she is just about to give up when she stumbles upon an absolute treasure trove of information. Too bad it also comes with a grouchy, territorial, if handsome, Englishman. Second, there are the historic spies. Lots of spies. French spies, English spies, Irish spies, spies who just like to spy.
While the series is generally considered romance, and are fun, fluffy reads, Willig’s research is excellent. She actually was as Harvard History PhD.