I’ve been under the weather with a very bad cold, and there hasn’t been much that’s made me happy, with the exception of Simon Prebble’s narration of THE PERFECT LOVER by Stephanie Laurens. Whenever the misery gets especially miserable, I hit play and sink into his all-encompassing storytelling. THE PERFECT LOVER is one of Laurens’s early “Cynster” novels, recently recorded by Prebble, and it makes ideal comfort listening. The main character, Simon (okay, yes, two Simons), arrives at a Regency house party and is immediately intrigued by a longtime acquaintance, Portia. Prebble’s aloof yet dominant voice for Cynster embodies aristocratic arrogance without a smidge of overacting. (Important aside — I would really like that voice for the emergency alert system on the radio . . . and my GPS . . . and my voicemail.)
I haven’t quite finished it yet, but this is your advance notice that if you like steamy yet elegant historicals with flawless narration, I’ve rarely heard better. Find more of Stephanie Laurens’s audiobooks, including many narrated by Simon Prebble, here.
Speaking of audiobooks that can get you through some sleepless nights, here are a few other titles that have stayed up late with me. Feel free to add your own comfort listening in the comments section. Audiobooks really can save your life, so, always, always, love your listening.
Read by Lance Greenfield, Erin Mallon
Small-town romance about a sheriff and a singer/hairdresser about rebuilding lives. I always appreciate the chapter about “Junk Sunday”—when only unhealthy foods may be eaten. Lay in your doughnut supply for an especially comforting listening experience. Greenfield has a nice, rough edge to his voice, and Mallon sounds low and breathy.
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES
Read by Jennifer Ikeda
Kind of a Harry Potter for adults, with a witch and a vampire falling into esoteric yet romantic love in Oxford’s Bodleian library and a castle in France. Ikeda has such a smooth voice, you’ll immediately find yourself in a mellow mood, and her accents are lovely. Additional warning: You will have the sudden urge to surf travel websites for flights to England.
THE GRAND SOPHY
Read by Sarah Woodward
This is a clean Regency romance written in 1950 with Cousin Sophy upending her cousins’ lives in London with her kind, yet mischievous ways. It’s a comforting tale of family dynamics. The dialogue is A+. It really comes to life on audio. As our reviewer said, it’s filled with “sly wit and great fun.”