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DAMASCUS

DAMASCUS

by Christos Tsiolkas | Read by Saul Reichlin

Bolinda Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Narrator Saul Reichlin takes on the sizable challenge of dramatizing the early years of the Christian church. One noteworthy example is his account of the transformation of Saul, a Jewish religious leader, into Paul, pillar of the church. Reichlin understands the complex subject matter he has been charged with and takes it very seriously. The chapters are not told in... Read More

DANCER

DANCER

by Colum McCann | Read by Dion Graham

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Dion Graham's whispery baritone delivers a quietly commanding performance of Colum McCann's beautifully written novel inspired by ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev's life. Growing up behind the Iron Curtain in the postwar Soviet Union, young Rudi faces deprivation, hunger, and government repression. Graham wisely doesn't attempt character voices yet deftly takes us through Rudi's... Read More

DAUGHTERS OF SPARTA

DAUGHTERS OF SPARTA

by Claire Heywood | Read by Mira Dovreni

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Mira Dovreni's narration of this reimagining of the Trojan War from the points of view of Klytemnestra and her sister, Helen, will enthrall lovers of mythology. Tyndareos offers his daughters to Agamemnon and Menelaos as a means of enhancing his power. Helen marries Menelaos, and Klytemnestra marries Agamemnon, each enduring as dutiful, if resentful, wives. Dovreni's Greek... Read More

THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS

THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS

by Pip Williams | Read by Pippa Bennett-Warner

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

This historical fiction audiobook imagines the origin of the Oxford English Dictionary. Listeners will imagine a garden shed blossoming with myriad slips of paper, all potential submissions for the legendary resource. Listeners in love with words will find Esme, a lexicographer's daughter, a sympathetic protagonist as she tries to find a role in the substantial project.... Read More

THE EIGHTH LIFE

THE EIGHTH LIFE

Earphones Award Winner

by Nino Haratischvili, Charlotte Collins, Ruth Martin [Translators] | Read by Tavia Gilbert

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

This huge, important novel is mesmerizing on audio, thanks to the range and judgment demonstrated in Tavia Gilbert's remarkable performance. She even sings beautifully, which matters at points in this saga detailing "the red century" through the lives of one family in Russian, then Soviet, Georgia. Haratischvili starts with a prosperous confectioner in Tiblisi in 1900. So far... Read More

THE ELEPHANT OF BELFAST

THE ELEPHANT OF BELFAST

by S. Kirk Walsh | Read by Charlotte McCurry

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Walsh's debut novel was inspired by the true story of a zookeeper's efforts to save Violet, a young, orphaned elephant in war-torn Belfast during the Irish Troubles. Narrator Charlotte McCurry's comfortable Irish brogue is true to the setting, but her overall performance fails to bring the characters to life. Her delivery is almost a monotone; it has little energy yet often... Read More

THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS

THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS

Earphones Award Winner

by Kristin Harmel | Read by Madeleine Maby, Kristin Harmel [Note]

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

In this compelling coming-of-age story, narrator Madeleine Maby portrays the mysterious Jerusza in a wise and foreboding tone. The intuitive woman kidnaps Yona from Berlin just before her second birthday and raises her in the Naliboki Forest of Poland. Maby's depiction of Yona, initially brimming with curiosity and wonder, evolves to reflect the girl's growth into an... Read More

HOUR OF THE WITCH

HOUR OF THE WITCH

by Chris Bohjalian | Read by Grace Experience, Saskia Maarleveld, Danny Campbell, Cassandra Campbell, Arthur Morey, Mark Deakins, Julia Whelan, Kaleo Griffith, Kirby Heyborne, Rebecca Lowman, Mark Bramhall

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Grace Experience narrates the lion's share of this audiobook, with cameos from additional narrators who deliver the notes and observations that begin each chapter. Experience's high-pitched voice is suitable for the character of 24-year-old Mary Deerfield, who recounts the story of her life in 1662 Boston. Mary, the sometimes shrill second wife of the abusive Thomas Deerfield,... Read More

INTO THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS

INTO THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS The Beatles and the Race to the Moon in the Psychedelic '60s

Earphones Award Winner

by Ronald P. Grelsamer | Read by Graham Halstead, Ronald P. Grelsamer

Ronald P. Grelsamer | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

In this audiobook, a novel that weaves the compelling 1960s stories of the race to space and the emergence of the Beatles, the real star is narrator Graham Halstead. He adds drama to the space flights--successes and failures--and his exceptional delivery of the Liverpool accents of the Fab Four and their real-life aide-de-camp, Mal Evans, enliven the listening experience. Mal's... Read More

ISLAND QUEEN

ISLAND QUEEN

Earphones Award Winner

by Vanessa Riley | Read by Adjoa Andoh

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Narrator Adjoa Andoh's versatile voice is the perfect match for this novel based on the life of Caribbean tycoon Dorothy "Doll" Kirwan Thomas. Born into slavery on Montserrat in the mid-1700s, Doll is determined to purchase freedom for herself and her family. Andoh's portrayals of Doll's parents, lovers, children, and racist antagonists provide a diverse sensory experience for... Read More

THE KEW GARDENS GIRLS

THE KEW GARDENS GIRLS

by Posy Lovell | Read by Elizabeth Knowelden

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

During WWI, women began to find their voices and power as they filled the gaps left by men gone to war. Elizabeth Knowelden's British accent transports us to London as she gives voice to Ivy and Louisa, two women who forge a friendship while working in the Royal Botanic Gardens and become suffragettes. For the most part, Knowelden stays with her narrative voice, skillfully... Read More

LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT

LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT

by Michaela Carter | Read by Cassandra Campbell, Fiona Hardingham, Jacques Roy, Michaela Carter [Note]

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Narrators Cassandra Campbell, Fiona Hardingham, and Jacques Roy lend their voices to the story of surrealist painter, writer, and feminist Leonora Carrington. At age 20, Leonora met artist Max Ernst, plunging into a relationship that would transform them both. In luminous tones that perfectly match the book's poetic language, Hardingham reveals Leonora's frantic state after Max... Read More

PAINTING THE LIGHT

PAINTING THE LIGHT

Earphones Award Winner

by Sally Cabot Gunning | Read by Eva Kaminsky

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Shipwrecks and portraits, bicycles and women's suffrage--all these enter into the plot of this excellent summer title as the audiobook transports listeners to Martha's Vineyard, 1898. Ida Russell Pease is an artist and sheep farmer who is struggling with stifling spousal and societal expectations as she copes with the grief of her past. Narrator Eva Kaminsky is an excellent... Read More

THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN

THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN

by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray | Read by Robin Miles

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Narrator Robin Miles employs her terrific performance skills to enhance this historical novel on the life of Belle da Costa Greene. Born Belle Marion Greener--daughter of activist Richard Greener, Harvard's first Black graduate--she "passes" as a white Portuguese woman while working as the personal librarian of financier J.P. Morgan. Belle is an astute observer of the wealthy... Read More

RIDGELINE

RIDGELINE

by Michael Punke | Read by Tatanka Means, Amanda Stribling, Michael Punke

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

This splendidly performed production--a fictional account of the Fetterman Fight, aka the Battle of the Hundred-in-the Hands--is a splendid experience for the listener. In the aftermath of the Civil War, settlers moved west and clashed with the various Native American tribes who had lived there for generations. The U.S. Army was tasked with defending the road through the... Read More

THE SECRET DIARIES OF JUAN LUIS VIVES

THE SECRET DIARIES OF JUAN LUIS VIVES

by Tim Darcy Ellis | Read by Peter Noble

Timothy Darcy Ellis | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Narrator Peter Noble's expressive rendering of this excellent historical novel makes this audiobook seem like an old-fashioned radio drama. He uses diverse accents and inflections to depict the many characters who populate the suspenseful story of Vives, a Spanish Jew who finds himself in King Henry VIII's England during the Spanish Inquisition. The novel is made up of Vives's... Read More

THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS MARY BENNET

THE SECRET LIFE OF MISS MARY BENNET

by Katherine Cowley | Read by Alison Larkin

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

This audiobook offers another take on what happened to the Bennet sisters after the events in Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Featured here is Mary, the middle sister, who is often regarded as bookish without being scholarly, musical without being talented, and self-righteous without being self-aware. Soft-spoken narrator Alison Larkin shows listeners a new Mary who becomes... Read More

THE SOCIAL GRACES

THE SOCIAL GRACES

by Renée Rosen | Read by Hillary Huber, Saskia Maarleveld

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

In Manhattan's Golden Age, power was the name of the game, and no one played it better than two remarkable women: Alva Vanderbilt and Caroline Astor. Performing both women, narrator Hillary Huber effects vocal changes that are so subtle that she almost disappears. In intermittent chapters we hear the snide comments and self-serving speculations of Society, wonderfully delivered... Read More

THIS SIDE OF BRIGHTNESS

THIS SIDE OF BRIGHTNESS

Earphones Award Winner

by Colum McCann | Read by Dion Graham

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

Narrator Dion Graham's captivating voice is a perfect fit for the epic sweep of McCann's sprawling audiobook. The story captures the complexity of living and working in early-twentieth-century New York City, where Black, Irish, and Italian immigrants labor in perilous conditions, digging tunnels from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Deep under the river, a horrifying accident occurs,... Read More

TO COOK A BEAR

TO COOK A BEAR

by Mikael Niemi | Read by Anthony Mark Barrow, Allan Corduner

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Historical Fiction

On one level, this audiobook by Swedish author Niemi is a fairly standard mystery. But there are other, much deeper, levels as well. Jussi, portrayed by Anthony Mark Barrow, is a Sámi runaway who has been informally adopted by Pastor Lars Levi Laestadius, an actual historical character who is portrayed later in the book by narrator Allan Corduner. Besides being the detective in... Read More

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