Last month on Twitter, romance author Tessa Dare wrote, “We’re all six degrees from Austen, and the 5th degree is Heyer, and the 4th degree is Woodiwiss, and that only leaves 3 degrees to mess around with. Our family tree is a VC Andrews novel.” For romance lovers, this is a hilarious inside joke about the authors everyone has read and how inevitable plot similarities are. And it’s true that there’s not always much variety in setting and plot when it comes to historical romance. Case in point: Here are six historical romance audios we’re recommending to you, and ALL of them are set in the British Isles in probably the 18th and 19th centuries. Acknowledging that we do seem to love our British dukes a little (okay, a lot) more than is healthy, there is something extraordinary in a group of authors and narrators who are working within a narrow, often-traveled slice of history and yet who still create tales worth hearing. Read more…
Chocolate-covered pretzels. Elsa and Anna. Beyonce and Coachella. There are some things in life that just work together amazingly well. Let’s add to the list historical romance author Kelly Bowen and esteemed narrator Ashford McNab. In their latest collaboration, A DUKE IN THE NIGHT, we meet Clara and August, who come face to face 10 years after a memorable meeting. August is a 19th-century entrepreneur (and a Duke), and he’s after a company that Clara’s family owns. With two strong-minded protagonists, how will it all end up? We’re lucky enough to have some inside information from narrator Ashford McNab. We asked her a few questions about A DUKE IN THE NIGHT.
If you’re a regular romance listener, you know you can learn a lot of history in romance novels. Sometimes I will produce some arcane fact to those unfortunate enough to be standing in my proximity and then triumphantly ask, “And how did I learn that? From a romance novel!” Good historical writers research and research and research. (Ahem. Outlander. Ahem. A Discovery of Witches. Just sayin’.) And in the audio format, with the right narrator, the historical framework sifts seamlessly through your consciousness. The narrator creates that realistic sense of place and time in a natural, entertaining way. They reduce the distance between the listener and a world with different cultural norms, clothing, and language patterns. So keep listening to those historical romances — you’re smarter for it!
A NAME UNKNOWN
by Roseanna M. White, narrated by Liz Pearce
Did you know that Britain sought out German sympathizers during World War I? I must admit, I would suspect that during World War II, but was fascinated by the historical details of the years leading up to the Great War found in this enjoyable historical by Roseanna M. White. A London thief posing as a librarian to suss out a spy? Sign me up! Narrator Liz Pearce switches from city London accents to countryside estate English. She makes the quiet, scholarly Peter Holstein seem romantic and dignified and brings all the minor characters to life. I really liked this author/narrator pairing, and I bet you will, too. Read more…
Usually we have the pleasure of featuring titles we’ve listened to and loved, but this week, I’m focusing on historical romance titles that are so new, some of them still in our players. All of these have caught our reviewers’ interest for one reason or another, and bringing them to you feels as sweet as sharing a giant bag of leftover Halloween candy ready to scarf. Love your 19th-century listening!
CAUGHT BY THE SCOT
by Karen Hawkins, read by Gary Furlong
Simon & Schuster Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award
Narrator Gary Furlong takes full control of privateer Conner Douglas’s concerted efforts to woo his best friend Lady Thea back from her squire swain. Connor’s steamy persuasions and Thea’s disconcerting wit will have listeners enjoying the spectacle.
Oh, dear. You know how you have an idea, and you think it’s a good idea, and then after a while, you realize you didn’t know what you were getting into? This is that time.
It was supposed to be simple (sigh). Introduce audiobook listeners to the romance genre with a few touchstone titles. These are audiobooks that epitomize the best of the genre and would appeal to a wide range of listeners. I thought I would organize it by category — for example, if you’re a mystery reader, you can jump into a romantic suspense listen and barely notice the landing. I had a few titles and narrators in my head. I started to organize them on paper to make categories. I jotted titles on the first paper. Quick and easy, right? Not so. I ran out of paper, had to start a second sheet. I thought of more suggestions. Then, I had to turn both of the sheets sideways in order to scribble more titles. Then, I was squeezing them in between the lines on both notes. Did I mention I don’t have good handwriting to begin with?
Long story short, there are MANY gateways to romance audio, and they are all worth entering. Here are a FEW to get you started. (Yes, this is a much shortened list from the original notes.)