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November 2019 Earphones Award Winners

The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.


THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Narrator Nicholas Boulton adopts a diverse collection of accents and personalities as he portrays magical creatures, vampires, soldiers, and other things that haunt the paranormal worlds in this audiobook. In the style of the Sherlock Holmes opus, Captain John Wyndham recounts his life upon his return to the city of Khelathra-Ven. Wyndham finds lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk,... Read More

THE BEAUTIFUL
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Narrator Lauren Ezzo pulls out all the stops in this paranormal romance. Celine has just arrived in New Orleans after fleeing Paris and a dark secret; she's taken in by a convent until they can find a suitable match for her. But soon Celine finds herself caught up in a series of mysterious murders, and Sébastien, leader of La Cour des Lions, is as suspicious as he is darkly... Read More

A BITTER FEAST
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Gerard Doyle is simply wonderful narrating Crombie's exciting 18th outing with the crime-solving couple Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. Doyle animates each of Crombie's numerous characters with slight shifts in voice and tone. The Kincaid family is invited to a posh country estate in the Cotswolds. They're looking forward to a relaxing getaway from their stressful Scotland Yard... Read More

CLEAR MY NAME
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Colleen Prendergast's strong, nuanced voice takes listeners to a village by the sea in northwest England. There, Tess, an investigator for Innocence UK, is gathering evidence to exonerate a woman imprisoned for stabbing her husband's mistress to death. Tess has her own secrets, which come to light as witnesses are interviewed about the murder case. This feminist thriller... Read More

CODENAME VILLANELLE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Laura Kirman deserves the lion's share of credit for making this captivating audiobook so irresistible. Her sultry Russian accent conjures an image of the gorgeous assassin Villanelle, an emotionless killing machine who learns how to become the object of desire to her targets. Even Villanelle's adversary, the talented British secret agent Eve Polastri, feels the pull... Read More

DEATH BESIDE THE SEASIDE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Elizabeth Knowelden handles the witty, rapid-fire wordplay of Kinsey's mystery. Lady Hardcastle and her lady's maid, Florence, take a holiday at the seaside, only to become embroiled in international intrigue. Knowelden keeps listeners laughing out loud and gives strong expression to the many foreign voices in the story. Knowelden especially shines as the voice of... Read More

THE DUKE'S CHILDREN
Earphones Award Winner
Classics

Those who have been following narrator David Shaw-Parker's journey through the Palliser novels have come to expect excellence, and they will not be disappointed with this concluding installment. The Duke of Omnium is now a widower, so we miss Lady Glencora's fine Scottish voice, but there is a new assortment of interesting characters for Shaw-Parker to bring to life. And he... Read More

THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

This harrowing yet hopeful story of young people caught in the midst of Spain's fascist regime in the 1950s is superbly rendered by Maite Jáuregui and an ensemble cast. With excellent Spanish, Jáuregui-- who does not sound like a native English speaker--uses her mesmerizing vocal tones and unhurried pacing to infuse the audiobook with all of its inherent pathos. The love story... Read More

GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Adjoa Andoh's lively narration of this witty and steamy romance will have listeners grinning from ear to ear. Chloe Brown, who suffers from chronic pain and fibromyalgia, has a near-death experience and is inspired to make a list of goals that will change her life. At the top of the list is moving into her own flat, away from her wealthy and overbearing family. Andoh's... Read More

I JUST HAVEN'T MET YOU YET
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

Narrating this autobiographical book about the author's recovery from childhood sexual abuse, Teri Clark Linden dials back the drama and focuses on the facts. For many listeners, this might be the best approach, as one can imagine how a more emotional reading of Tracy Strauss's journey might create an intensity that upstages the author's message. This is powerful writing about... Read More

IS THERE STILL SEX IN THE CITY?
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Julia Whelan's excellent narration of this chronicle of middle-aged dating stands alone as an engaging, easy-to-hear, even captivating performance--a pleasing six hours of getting to know the voice of this appealing and accomplished narrator. But with her mature voice register, confidence, and audible self-awareness, Whelan has also created an audiobook that is authentically... Read More

JACKPOT
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Listeners will find winning humor in this audiobook as narrator and author Nic Stone provides a flawless, upbeat performance. She gives voice to Rico and Zan--teenagers on a mission to find an unclaimed winning lottery ticket that could help Rico's struggling family. Stone taps into Rico's perseverance and strength as she tries to keep her family financially afloat. To track... Read More

JULIET TAKES A BREATH
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Narrator Lillian Claire portrays the toughness and tenderness of college freshman Juliet Palante, a self-described "closeted Puerto-Rican baby-dyke from the Bronx." Claire depicts Juliet's mix of fear and courage as she awkwardly comes out to her family and faces her mother's painful rejection. Nevertheless, she's off to Portland, Oregon, for an internship with Harlow Brisbane,... Read More

LONG FLIGHT HOME
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

Narrator Simon Vance works his magic on this well-written WWII novel inspired by the contributions made to the war effort by homing pigeons. Not to worry--listeners will also find plenty of action scenes, terror behind enemy lines, and a sweet romance. Vance masterfully differentiates characters from Maine, several parts of the UK, France, and Germany. The lead female... Read More

THE LONG RIDE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

N'Jameh Camara narrates this work of historical fiction for young listeners. The story focuses on the busing integration attempts made in New York City schools in the 1970s. Jamila Clarke, Josie Rivera, and Francesca George come from the only mixed-race families in their upper-class Queens neighborhood. For the first time, the girls will be going to school with other students... Read More

MADAME BADOBEDAH
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Sophie Dahl is wonderful in writing and narrating this enchanting story. When the enigmatic Madame Badobedah arrives at the Mermaid Hotel with her unfamiliar accent and mass of unusual belongings, Mabel, the hotel owners' daughter, is intrigued. Piano music and sound effects heighten a cheerfully mysterious mood. Certain that Madame Badobedah is an international jewel thief,... Read More

MOTOR MOUSE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Who better than John McDonough to narrate Rylant's MOTOR MOUSE? He brings his rich, welcoming voice to three stories about a Mouse and his cohorts. Picture Motor Mouse in his little red car as he makes deliveries and rewards himself with a trip to the bakery on Cake Friday. Or picture him befriending the cabbie who drives him down "memory lane." Lastly, picture Motor Mouse... Read More

THE STARLESS SEA
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Dion Graham's rich, velvety timbre guides listeners through the world of SWEET SORROWS, the volume of stories that opens author Erin Morgenstern's worlds within worlds. Zachary Ezra Rawlins, new media graduate student and son of a fortune-teller, finds himself at the center of events surrounding a mysterious library book that reflects his life within its pages. Dominic... Read More

STRANGE HARVESTS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Roy McMillan's narration of this unusual travelogue is terrific. It's as if a learned British professor is sharing stories about unusual objects found in far-flung places while retaining a measure of awe at his luck to study such things. Eider ducks and guano might be familiar products harvested in nature, but birds' nests made of spittle found in caves, coffee made from beans... Read More

TAINA
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Daniel José Molina's affectionate interpretation of Quiñonez's novel rings with truth. Quiñonez should be on everyone's list of authors to know. In his riveting portrait of contemporary life in the projects of Spanish Harlem, he creates distinctive, indelible characters. Fifteen-year-old Taina Flores is pregnant. She claims she's a virgin. Her mother believes her.... Read More

THIS TENDER LAND
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Krueger himself introduces and closes this modern-day ODYSSEY, which also serves as a wink at Huck Finn. Narrator Scott Brick brings the story to life as the voice of Odie, an old man who reflects upon his childhood in Minnesota and the life-changing year of 1932. Four children escape, via canoe, from the notorious Lincoln School, a boarding school for Native Americans. Brick... Read More

THE TYRANT'S TOMB
Earphones Award Winner
Children

For four audiobooks now, narrator Robbie Daymond has been lending his voice to the god Apollo, who is temporarily stuck in an all-too-human teenage body. And he has mastered walking the line between communicating the genuine trauma and tragedy of war and conveying Apollo's witty narrative voice--his gallows humor, funny haikus, and sense of godly superiority. As Apollo and his... Read More

THE WITCHES ARE COMING
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Author and narrator Lindy West is at her incendiary best in her latest collection of essays, which unpack the bizarre, broken, and infuriating mess of current American politics. She takes small bits of pop culture--from famous internet cats to Adam Sandler movies--and uses them to illustrate complex truths about patriarchy, racism, and climate change. West's sharp and sometimes... Read More

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