Based on the true story of Belle da Costa Greene and narrated by Ja'Air Bush, this historical fiction offers a close look at New York City in the 1900s and the amazing brilliant woman who became the first director of J.P. Morgan's private library. The novel traces Belle's life, starting when her Black family makes the dangerous decision to pass for white. Bush has a pleasing... Read More
With actors like Jon Hamm, Kate Mara, and the rest, this Audible Original had to be a smash. The fact that it is based on a true story clinched it. Hamm portrays an intrepid FBI agent in the 1950s who is enmeshed in the terrible purge of suspected communists in Hollywood. Hamm delivers his usual pitch-perfect performance, managing to imbue hesitations and nuances into his... Read More
Quyen Ngo is a firm feminist voice for this historical novel about two famed Vietnamese sisters who worked together to save their country from Chinese domination--in CE 40, no less. Fans of world literature will find much to admire in this fast-paced, lyrical story, told by a confident narrator. The sisters' privileged lives fall apart after the murder of their father amid the... Read More
Narrator Ben Allen fully engages listeners with this intriguing story about the art world in Renaissance Venice. Zorzo, an up-and-coming painter, stakes his life and career on his obsessive desire to obtain a mysterious color that no one has ever seen before. Allen deftly distinguishes the many interesting people of all ages who inhabit Zorzo's world. Famous artists of the... Read More
Narrator Hannah Morrish's soft voice enhances this enchanting tale of two young Saxon women of Londinium, Britain, 500 CE. Isla is voiced as a serious woman who was trained in secret by her father, the Great Smith, to make "fire-tongued" swords. Blue has a gift for seeing visions, healing, and magic, and Morrish gives her voice a tone of otherworldliness. Morrish uses a... Read More
Gisela Chìpe's performance of this audiobook is exceptionally touching. She deftly captures the spirit of these richly defined characters and the mood of mounting dread. Set in the Yucatán peninsula during the 1800s, Moreno-Garcia's audiobook is a recasting of H.G. Wells's mysterious scientist who builds animal-human hybrids. When the truth behind this disturbing story becomes... Read More
The life of the biblical figure Hagar is imagined in a historical fiction audiobook narrated by Lillian Rachel. The princess of Egypt and future wife of the royal heir, Hagar, lives a charmed life. When Sarai, a Sumerian, joins the pharaoh's harem, Hagar's visions start to come true. Before long, Hagar is questioning the existence of her gods and recognizing the truth of... Read More
This very long, well-researched saga detailing the machinations of the twelfth-century court of Eleanor of Aquitane is delivered with impeccable timing and elegant style by narrator Karen Cass. Isabelle, a noblewoman, is trapped in an unhappy marriage to controlling, frighteningly cruel wealthy widower Gerard, Lord de Meurtaigne. Cass's voice is menacing as an enraged Gerard... Read More
Narrator Sarah-Jane Drummey takes on this complex story of life in the American colonies from 1729 through 1739. Fifteen-year-old Blair Eakins, an Ulster-Scot, signs up as indentured servant for four years to pay for passage to Philadelphia. In London, 10-year-old sweet-voiced Mallie Ambrose, an orphaned pickpocket, is imprisoned for stealing and then transported to Maryland,... Read More
Saskia Maarleveld's narration is the best part of this historical mystery, set in Brooklyn in October 1942. At times a bit convoluted, the story centers on half-siblings Will and Maggie Scripps. As WWII rages on, Will works for the Manhattan Project, and Maggie struggles to find consistent work. Their isolated existence is interrupted when they find a freezing woman under their... Read More
Aidan Kelly's performance expresses the complex emotional experiences of three monks who are seeking solitude on a deserted island. Set in seventh-century Ireland, this work of historical fiction follows three monks who feel called by God to make a spiritual haven set apart from the temptations of the rest of the world. As time passes, their leader, Artt, becomes more and more... Read More
This is a lengthy feminist retelling of what happened in Odysseus's kingdom of Ithaca while he was struggling to return home after the fall of Troy. Listeners are introduced to Penelope, wife of the hero, who must rule a kingdom beset with pirates and scores of suitors who long to wed her and claim kingship of this western Greek island. The poised, steady voice of narrator... Read More
Sean Rohani gives an upbeat narration of this fictionalized insider's view of the lead-up to the marriage of John Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier. The story is told by Lem Billings, a real-life close friend of Jack and Jackie, whose homosexuality was well hidden. According to Lem, Kennedy patriarch Joe Kennedy pressured Jack to marry to advance Jack's career in politics. Rohani... Read More
History buffs and Francophiles alike will enjoy this expertly narrated fictionalized account of Jacqueline Bouvier's year of study abroad. Caroline Hewitt captures the magic of postwar Paris with her adept handling of French, German, and New Jersey accents. In narrating both male and female characters of a variety of ages, Hewitt shows her skill and experience. A little like a... Read More
Hannah Morrish's staggering performance as Joan enhances Chen's wonderful novel. We all know the story of Joan of Arc, the French teenager who led the Dauphin's army to victories before being burned at the stake as a heretic. Morrish is English, not French, but it doesn't matter a whit; her mastery of expressing class and emotion is stunning. Joan, who is taller than most men,... Read More
Soneela Nankani is often featured in South Asian titles. This fictional account of one part of the RAMAYANA, an ancient Hindu tale, is further proof that she's an excellent narrator. Nankani presents the lively, young princess Kaikeyi, who is maddeningly hemmed in and ignored by the sexist society she's grown up in. Listeners will feel sympathy for Kaikeyi as she fights to hold... Read More
Narrator Saskia Maarleveld brings her notable talent for accents to this WWII novel set in Lisbon, Portugal, and Nazi-occupied Lyon, France. She performs dialogue with several realistic accents, though she maintains an American accent for the narrative sections. The story focuses on Ava, an American employee of the Library of Congress who is working for the U.S. government in... Read More
Soft-voiced Anne Flosnik narrates this fourteenth-century tale of a convent in England. In the aftermath of the Black Death, the aging Mother John, abbess of Gaerdegen, leads her nuns, using the controversial Book of Ursula, much to the dismay of the local priest-confessor. Flosnik's steady voice allows this story, filled with long-winded backstories of the nuns' lives, the... Read More
Narrator Lisa Flanagan superbly narrates this audiobook based on history and enhanced by the engaging dialogue of a fascinating foursome in the 1920s. The characters' relationships rival the female friendships made famous in "Sex and the City." The story revolves around the legendary writer Dorothy Parker and her friends. The setting may be the Prohibition era, but women's... Read More
Three talented women--narrator, author, and protagonist--combine forces for this gripping historical novel set in Renaissance Italy. Maggie O'Farrell, author of the award-winning novel HAMNET, here introduces us to Lucrezia de' Medici of Florence, who married Duke Alfonso d'Este of Ferrara in 1559. Genevieve Gaunt's captivating performance illuminates the suspenseful tale like... Read More
Carlotta Brentan gives a fine narration of this saga of Hollywood in the '30s and '40s. With her father in prison for anti-fascist activities in Italy, Maria, along with her mother, moves to an Italian neighborhood in Los Angeles. Maria becomes a secretary for the head of Mercury Pictures, Artie Feldman. Her secret romance with an Asian actor is disrupted when part of her past,... Read More
British actor Georgina Campbell is the perfect performer to narrate the story of a mixed-race London nightclub singer who gets what appears to be the chance of a lifetime to star on Broadway. Lena Aldridge is anxious to leave town for a number of reasons, including her involvement in the poisoning of the nightclub's owner. The clear, incisive voice of Campbell follows Lena as... Read More
Listeners who enjoy stories about strong, independent women will be captivated by Anne-Marie Piazza's delightful portrayal of Mimi, a laundress and circus girl who inhabits the gritty world of 1860s Paris. Working girl Mimi beguiles the artist Edouard Manet, but she dreams of becoming a painter in her own right. Piazza captures Mimi's charm, as well as her determination to... Read More
Linda McGinnis exquisitely creates 1800s New Hampshire and its fascinating inhabitants. Listeners meet young widow Margery Turner, whose poverty leads her to a pauper auction, where she is "sold" to the lowest bidder for her labor. Fortunately, she and another pauper, 10-year-old Agnes, who is handicapped, soon take up residence on an apple farm run by elderly, opinionated... Read More
Narrator Dion Graham delivers Bazawule's debut novel about an African American couple who flee the U.S. to avoid prosecution for defending themselves during a confrontation in the 1960s. Melvin and Bernadette board a plane headed to Ghana to seek asylum during this volatile period in American history. Once in Ghana, they befriend Kwesi, who is attracted to Bernadette. Unknown... Read More
Narrator Jessica Marchbank is a classically trained vocalist, and that shows in her performance of this audiobook focused on two women in early-twentieth-century New Orleans. Constance Halstead is a young widow; Alice Butterworth may as well be, as her husband has simply disappeared. But their backgrounds are different. Constance has a trust fund, while Alice has only her... Read More
Graham Halstead performs this audiobook as if he is conspiring with the listener. He delivers the galloping historical novel, predominantly set in France, with just the right pace and intonation. His tempo works well for the many characters in a story that moves from small-town France to New York City. Music runs through the text, as well, as the family business of Henri... Read More
Emma Gregory shines as narrator of this historical fiction set during the English Civil War of the 1640s. Jayne Swift is a doctor in all but name. She trained as a doctor, but gender norms require that she use the title of nurse. When war breaks out, Jane vows neutrality and helps anyone she can. But being neutral is dangerous in such uncertain times. Throughout the war, she... Read More
Robin Miles gives a mesmerizing performance of this extraordinarily powerful Civil War novel, cowritten and inspired by the family histories of authors Shaunna Edwards, who is Black, and Alyson Richman, who is white and Jewish. With her perfect pacing, Miles transports listeners to this fraught landscape and holds their rapt attention until the last moment. Heartbreaking period... Read More
A brilliant, reclusive Wall Street tycoon seems to have had the perfect formula for creating almost unlimited wealth even during the Great Depression. What was his secret? Four talented narrators deliver this novel. A pastiche of genres, it is part mystery, part love story, and part examination of America's wealthiest citizens told through passages from a sensationalist novel... Read More
Sophie Robert zestfully introduces residents of London and Aldhurst Village in Kent for a WWII story based on actual events and people. Listeners meet Cressida Westcott, a famous London fashion designer whose business is bombed; Violet Westcott, her niece, who is diligently seeking a titled husband; and the vicar's sweet-natured daughter, Grace Carlisle, who is sadly involved... Read More
Narrator Alex Parra portrays 20-year-old Sam with a tone of emotional exhaustion caused by the terror and tedium of war. As WWII ends, Alex is released from a Nazi forced labor camp only to be drafted into the Dutch army and sent to the island of Java, where a war for independence is taking place. With palpable anxiety and despair, Parra delivers the interspersed journal... Read More
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