Audiobook Romance Starred Reviews | Alastair Haynesbridge, Rebecca Mozo, Bahni Turpin, and Julie Whelan Read The Season's Top Picks

Romances on audio that deepen characterization and enhance conversations.

Emezi, Akwaeke. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty. S. & S. Audio. May 2022. 9:57 hrs. ISBN 9781797142562. $19.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

National Book Award finalist Emezi (The Death of Vivek Oji) examines grief and the complexity of relationships and love in her latest novel. Feyi has focused on her art and herself during the five years since her husband’s death in an automobile accident. With her best friend Joy’s encouragement, Feyi rejoins the dating world and meets Nasir. Taken with her beauty and her art, Nasir brings Feyi to his home in the Caribbean, where she meets his father, celebrity chef Alim Blake. Feyi and Alim bond over the grief of losing a partner to death and fight their growing attraction. Bahni Turpin’s narration aurally illustrates the sights, sounds, and tastes Feyi experiences. She embodies Feyi and the multitude of deep emotions the artist feels as she works through her grief and finds new love. Turpin’s skill in switching between accents and characters and in capturing the range of emotions is commendable: from Feyi’s grief, uncertainty, and desire to Nasir’s anger and anguish along with Joy’s over-the-top energy. VERDICT Flawlessly narrated by Turpin, this production is essential.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Henry, Emily. Book Lovers. Books on Tape. May 2022. 11:23 hrs. ISBN 9780593553787. $95. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Best-selling author Henry (Beach Read) is back with an exciting new novel that readers will devour. Literary agent Nora Stephens is intense and demanding but adored by the authors she represents. Nora eats, drinks, and breathes books and expects others to follow suit. When her pregnant sister convinces her to spend the summer in Sunshine Falls, the small-town setting of her favorite romance novel, Nora can’t refuse. What she doesn’t know is that cocky Charlie Lastra, a New York editor, will also be in Sunshine Falls. Charlie and Nora find themselves repeatedly thrown together, whether looking for the town’s only Wi-Fi signal, ordering drinks to appease the scary bartender, or discussing Bigfoot erotica. The two thought that enemies-to-lovers was just a romance trope, but they soon see this playing out in real life. The audio is brilliantly narrated by Julie Whelan, who infuses her signature humor into Henry’s characters. Whelan’s perfectly timed delivery adds both a comedic and an emotional flair. VERDICT Fans of small-town romances, realistically flawed characters, and witty humor will be enchanted and may rate this as Henry’s best novel to date.—Erin Cataldi

Sosa, Mia. The Wedding Crasher. HarperAudio. Apr. 2022. 11:16 hrs. ISBN 9780063092341. $27.99. MULTICULTURAL ROMANCE

Crashing the wedding her wedding planner cousin asked her to help out with wasn’t really on Solange Pereira’s to-do list, but when she accidentally caught the bride-to-be confessing her love to the best man, what was she to do? Now jilted groom Dean Chapman isn’t that hung up on losing his intended—it was a marriage of convenience—though he does now need someone else to prove to his law firm he’s steady, solid, and ready to be promoted. Feeling guilty about her role in ruining Dean’s wedding, Solange agrees to be his fake girlfriend and help show off Washington, DC, to a new potential lawyer at Dean’s firm. While Solange courts a future using her new education degree far away from her huge Brazilian American family and hometown, Dean begins to wonder if he’d like to convince Solange to be his real girlfriend. Narrators Rebecca Mozo and Alastair Haynesbridge bring laugh-out-loud life to this delightful rom-com follow-up to Sosa’s The Best Worst Man. VERDICT Listeners will likely be on the edge of their seats for the dual narrations and hilarious, steamy, moments. A must-listen for fans of Tessa Bailey’s Hook, Line, and Sinker.—Elizabeth Gabriel

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