Vacation season is still in full swing. Make your summer traffic jams bearable with some great audiobook travel companions. Instead of listening to your GPS tell you about yet another “ten-minute slowdown,” listen to these new romantic audiobooks that involve travel and getaways. Perfect for road trips, or for armchair traveling while you stay close to home. Bon voyage!
Start your getaway with a Tanzanian destination wedding in JANA GOES WILD by Farah Heron, read by Soneela Nankani. Jana had no idea her bridesmaid duties would mean a reunion with Anil, her former fling and the father of her child. Nankani does a fabulous job anchoring the complex second-chance-at-love story. She represents the specific setting and different cultures as well as the humorous wedding activities that help Jana “let loose” with the other bridesmaids and confront her enduring feelings for Anil.
For another second-chance-at-love romantic getaway, travel north with A ROGUE'S RULES FOR SEDUCTION by Eva Leigh, read by Mary Jane Wells. Lady Willa Ransom attends a house party on a Scottish island only to come face to face with her ex-fiancé Dominic Kilburn. Wells’s distinctive voices and accents highlight the opportunity Willa and Dominic have to get to know each other again and discover the reasons their engagement fractured. Despite the cooler climate, Wells turns up the heat between Willa and Dominic in their private moments.
Let’s head to the U.S. for a pair of road trip audiobooks where the past and the present weave together for maximum entertainment. In MRS. NASH’S ASHES by Sarah Adler, there’s a perfect symmetry as narrator Mara Wilson (herself a child actress who starred in Matilda) voices former child actress Millicent Watts-Cohen. Millicent takes a road trip to Key West to deliver her friend Mrs. Nash’s cremains to her long-lost romantic interest, Elsie. Wilson’s voice is both knowing and comfortable as she steers listeners through Millicent’s journey and her somewhat surly road trip companion, Hollis. The story alternates between the present and the past with scenes from Mrs. Nash’s WWII romance with Elsie.
Stay in the road trip groove with YOU, WITH A VIEW by Jessica Joyce. This is the perfect road trip romance in the social media era. Narrator Kyla Garcia introduces listeners to Noelle Shepherd, an unemployed photographer who posts an old photo on TikTok hoping to find out who her grandmother’s mystery beau was. Garcia then takes listeners on a sentimental road trip with Noelle; her grandmother’s past love, Paul; and Paul’s grandson, Theo. On the road, Noelle grieves, photographs, and falls in love with Theo. Garcia’s vocal differentiation and attention to mood balance the comic and bittersweet elements in equal measure.
For another getaway audiobook with social media themes, join a guided tour with Nisha Sharma’s THE KARMA MAP, read by Soneela Nankani and Fajer Al-Kaisi. After Tara Bajaj suffers an online fail, she seizes the opportunity to become a Hindu temple tour guide in India, meeting Silas D’Souza-Gupta along the way. Nankani and Al-Kaisi navigate the intersection of culture, citizenship, and individuality with a thoughtful performance that is as much about Tara and Silas’s search for identity as it is their growing romance. Listeners will appreciate the care the narrators have for the setting and secondary characters.
Board an Alaskan cruise with JASMINE AND JAKE ROCK THE BOAT by Sonya Lalli, read by Mayuri Bhandari. Jasmine is the black sheep of her Washington state Punjabi community, never quite in sync with her family. Seeking connection, Jasmine agrees to go on a family cruise and gets stuck on board with poster boy Jake Dhillon and all her disapproving relatives. Bhandari has a vocal presence that’s a great match for Jasmine’s assertive sensibility. Her voice is often edged with humor, making frank observations of the perils of a family cruise in this Pride and Prejudice listen-alike.
Finally, travel east to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia in THAT SUMMER FEELING by Bridget Morrissey, read by Jeremy Carlisle Parker. There’s so much vitality in Parker’s performance as she reveals Garland Moore’s summer camp vacation and her meet-cute with Mason, which leads to a more meaningful interest in his sister, Stevie. Camp activities are juxtaposed with Garland’s moments of self discovery and growing connection with Stevie. Parker mixes romantic sizzle with outdoor revels in a compelling performance.