Nuala O'Connor imagines the real life of Belle Bilton, star of the music hall in late-nineteenth-century London, who marries above her station only to have to defend the marriage when her father-in-law tries to engineer a divorce. Narrator Jayne Entwistle's lovely English accent captures Belle's charm and her resolve to overcome adversity--an untitled birth, a relationship with... Read More
A gruesome Mob hit opens this audiobook; then the story flashes back to show how the characters reached this point. Narrator Meredith Starkman highlights a combination of family love and dysfunction in 1930s Brooklyn, delivering an understated performance of this highly emotional novel about a broken Jewish family. After their father dies and their mother becomes inconsolable,... Read More
Joanne Froggatt, of "Downton Abbey," skillfully narrates this sweeping story of art, beauty, love, and murder. The story of Birchwood Manor and its various inhabitants unfolds over the course of 150 years--from the fateful summer of 1862 to the current time. Model Birdie and archivist Elodie are the lynchpin voices, but the cast of characters is vast. Froggatt's precise diction... Read More
Take one historical mystery written by three bestselling authors about three strong women, add secrets, forgery, romance, spies, and a doomed ship, then top it with three superb narrators, and you have a most satisfying audiobook. Narrators Brittany Pressley, Vanessa Johansson, and Saskia Maarleveld deliver captivating performances of the three heroines. Pressley's Caroline is... Read More
In 1791, during the French Revolution, Marie-Louise Girandin leaves her illegitimate newborn son with her friend, disguises herself as a man, and secures employment as a kitchen steward aboard the ship RECHERCHE. In a soothing voice that still conveys emotional depth, narrator Ulli Birvé depicts Marie-Louise's frequently dangerous encounters with her male shipmates and her... Read More
This is an audiobook for people who want to know who was Beyoncé before Beyoncé, or Madonna before Madonna. Josephine Baker led a life that sounds more like that of a character in great literature than a groundbreaking entertainer, civil rights champion, and possible spy. But Baker was all of this and more. She was an international star, and Jones's fictionalized account of her... Read More
Narrator Jayne Entwistle's youthful voice sounds just right in her portrayal of Madame Tussaud, who started life as Anne Marie Grosholtz. Written as a memoir, or diary, the story of Tussaud's life begins when she is an orphaned child who learns about making wax casts from a Swiss doctor and continues with their sojourn in Paris, where she works with the sister of King Louis XVI... Read More
When American photographer Cady Drake goes to France to document historical carousels, she finds meaning in her own life and brings the dysfunctional Clement family back together. Narrator Xe Sands portrays the awkward and rootless orphan Cady with sympathy and heart. The complicated story has many characters, both past and present, but Sands keeps everyone straight with a... Read More
Narrator Jilly Bond offers a fine performance of this straight-to-audio historical mystery. Set in 1608 London and featuring proto-feminist ribbon seller Mrs. Cox, this first novel's realistic scenes and dialogue are helped by its New Zealand author's love of seventeenth-century diaries. Mrs. Cox has formed a "Maiden's Guild" to guard neighborhood businesswomen from the... Read More
Nancy Wu is an excellent choice to narrate this historical novel about young Mei Ling, a Chinese girl who moves to America to be the wife of a man, sight unseen. Wu's style is sensitive, precise, and steady. We are transported back to the early twentieth century, guided by Wu's emotional performance. From Mei Ling's painful separation, to her perilous journey via boat, through... Read More
Narrating duo Elham Ehsas and Deborah McBride bring Faulks's newest historical fiction to life. The story is set in France during the Nazi occupation and in Tangier. Postdoctoral researcher Hannah investigates Parisian women's lives during WWII, and runaway Moroccan teenager Tariq searches for the mother he barely knew. As chapters alternate between the characters, McBride... Read More
This audiobook is a love story set against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution. Narrators Frankie Corzo, Thom Rivera, and Timothy Andrés Pabon present the personal and political as the country moves towards communism. Corzo gives a dreamy and throaty voice to Carmela, a female freedom fighter and budding beauty. We follow Carmela through her various missions, experiencing the... Read More
There is nothing like a fresh reading of a classic to breathe new life into its message. Humphrey Bower's graceful narration of Keneally's audiobook is just such a milestone. The story of Oskar Schindler is well known: He was a patriotic German and member of the Nazi party who managed to save more than 1,200 Jews by bringing them to work in his enamelware factory in Poland. (As... Read More
With a soft Texas drawl, Susan Bennett inhabits Bonnie Parker, who tells the story of her and Clyde's infamous descent into robbery and murder in the 1930s. SIDE BY SIDE picks up where BECOMING BONNIE (also narrated by Bennett) ends, with Clyde's release from a prison work camp so horrific that he vows to never be captured alive. Bennett also beautifully projects the... Read More
Listeners engage George's epic second novel where THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO leaves off. Re-creating the life of the Roman emperor who allegedly fiddled while Rome burned, the story begins with that famous fire and follows Nero through his last years. Steve West carries the lion's share of the narrating as Nero recounts events as he lives them. Katharine McEwan and Susan... Read More
One is delighted by Edoardo Ballerini's warm narration of this audiobook. First, time and place slide into focus as Ballerini navigates regional accents, male and female dialogue, and slang. Then, the timely song lyrics of protagonist Chi Chi set the mood. Finally, the larger themes of love, sacrifice, ambition, and independence emerge like the crescendo of a big band number.... Read More
Laurence Dobiesz's steady, unaffected narration brings precision, dexterity, and conviction to a story built on meticulous detailing. As narrator, he is clearly at home in several European languages and is capable of suggesting a character or a state of mind with a shift in volume or tone. Set in the Carpathians, in a makeshift hospital on the Austro-Russian front in WWI,... Read More
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