Congratulations to the prolific and extremely talented 2021 Golden Voice narrator Soneela Nankani for her many contributions to the audio industry. While Nankani has narrated more than 200 titles in young adult fiction, science fiction, and nonfiction, and other genres, she may be most beloved as a romance narrator. Her soft, empathetic voice takes on romantic entanglements but also family expectations, the search for identity, workplace dilemmas, and many other issues facing contemporary couples from a variety of cultures. She’s the ultimate navigator, guiding listeners steadily through each couple’s romantic journey and always creating a unique listening experience.
If I had to pick the title that first connected Nankani to romance listening for me, it would be PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND OTHER FLAVORS. So this is a great place to start your listening journey. This Jane Austen retelling involving a chef and a doctor combines the popularity of author Sonali Dev with Nankani's expertise with tone and accents. Nankani and Dev have teamed up for other titles, including RECIPE FOR PERSUASION, another Austen retelling.
THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU is one of the best enemies-to-lovers stories, and Nankani’s decadent narration, with authentic accents for the Indian American characters in Sajni Patel's romance, earned AudioFile's Earphones Award.
DESTINATION WEDDING travels to India with Basu’s main character Tina Das and her lively experiences with her family at wedding festivities. Nankani plays up the humor while staying sympathetic to Tina’s perspective.
No romance list would be complete without a second chance at love storyline. In THEN, NOW, ALWAYS, Sam and Maya share a past and a secret Maya would prefer Sam not discover. Nankani uses subtle accents to distinguish their Indian American parents and a lilting voice for the descriptions of Indian American cuisine.
With dual narration from Nankani and Vikas Adam, THE MARRIAGE CODE sets up a work rivalry that spans two continents. Nankani’s narration ensures Emma and Rishi have great chemistry, both at work and after hours.
Soneela Nankani teams up again with Vikas Adams in THE SET UP, a romance novella with major family interference from Aditi and Krishna’s grandparents. This quick listen is a great way to get to know Nankani’s narration.
For me, SNAPPED is the most powerful listen on the list. Themes of gender issues in the workplace as well as social justice in professional sports could be overwhelming, but they're so sensitively handled in Nankani's narration. This is another great title to start with if you’ve never listened to Nankani’s work before.
Let’s round out the list with two more Earphones Award-winning narrations by Nankani. Bring on the humor with THE MARRIAGE GAME as Layla navigates ten blind dates with the help of her “friend” and officemate Sam.
And equally notable and funny, ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED stars Reena and Nadim, whose parents have semi-arranged their marriage, which they eventually use as an excuse to secretly enter a cooking competition together.
Soneela Nankani photo by Jody Christopherson.