March is already almost behind us, can you believe it?

Time has felt like a particularly odd construct since, well, last March. Throw in daylight savings, capricious early-spring weather, and an ongoing pandemic and it really makes no sense. Still, I don’t know anyone who isn’t altogether grateful for the longer, sunnier days ahead, so if that means saying goodbye to March then we’ll welcome April with open arms.

As time rolls on, new books roll in, and audiobooks are a fresh way to “read” as much as humanly possible. How can you check out your favorite author’s latest release while also venturing out on a springtime walk around the block to see the daffodils and soak in the first few pale rays of sunlight that we’ve had in months? Listen to an audiobook! If you ask me, it’s multitasking at its finest.

Professional Troublemaker

By Luvvie Ajayi Jones | Read by Luvvie Ajayi Jones
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
Penguin Audio | 8 hrs

Author and podcaster Luvvie Ajayi Jones narrates her second manual for authentic living with flair. According to Jones, to be a professional troublemaker is to have a clear sense of personal identity and the ability to act without fear. Her straightforward approach and conversational style will have listeners nodding as Jones guides them through many common pitfalls of fear and explains how to combat them. Jones lovingly references her Yoruba heritage, especially her boisterous grandmother, as a source of wisdom and fearlessness. Read the review here.

The Consequences of Fear

By Jacqueline Winspear | Read by Orlagh Cassidy
Harper Audio | 10.5 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

In the sixteenth Maisie Dobbs mystery, narrator Orlagh Cassidy returns to transport listeners back to the bomb-shattered London of 1941. The author’s attention to the details of time, place, and speech and Cassidy’s spot-on performance provide an engaging authenticity in this listening experience. In her investigation of a murder witnessed by a boy, Maisie Dobbs finds herself in a complex situation involving British and French intelligence agents. Cassidy excels at performing the emotionally fraught dialogue which shines a light on the external and internal scars of war and their ripple effects on family. This is a deeply moving listening experience. Read the review here.

The Kindest Lie

By Nancy Johnson | Read by Shayna Small
Harper Audio | 11 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Shayna Small’s sumptuous voice and on-the-mark character portrayals enhance this beautiful story, one that’s rich with themes of familial bonds, reconciliation, and racial prejudice. Ruth Tuttle, a successful engineer living in Chicago, returns to her hometown in search of the child she was forced to give up for adoption as a teenager; she finds much more. Small’s lush voice is elegant and soothing, effectively creating a sense of foreboding as Ruth uncovers secrets and works to reconcile with her past. Read the review here.

Beneficence

By Meredith Hall| Read by Cassandra Campbell, Tom Taylorson and Rachel Jacobs
Blackstone Audio | 9.75 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrators Cassandra Campbell, Tom Taylorson and Rachel Jacobs channel each member of the close-knit Senter family. Their stunning performances will put listeners in the heart of the family before, during and after a tragedy. Spanning the years from 1933 to the 1960s, Campbell, as Doris, sounds worried about her children even when there’s no reason to worry; Taylorson, as Tup, portrays a practical and down-to-earth man; and Jacobs presents Dodie, a bright, articulate and poetic child. This beautiful, haunting story, performed with sensitivity, is best enjoyed on audio. Read the review here.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

by H.G. Parry | Read by Andrew Kingston
Hachette Audio | 21 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

This alternate history of the eighteenth century weaves together the stories of the slave rebellion in Haiti, the French Revolution, and the abolitionist movement in England and wraps them all up in an undercurrent of magic. Andrew Kingston assumes subtle accents for each setting as listeners recognize the major historical figures of these events and are introduced to a few fictional characters as well. Kingston makes the magic seem like a natural and integral part of each political climate in this fantasy epic and sets the stage for a sequel. Read the review here.

You Don’t Belong Here

By Elizabeth Becker | Read by Lisa Flanagan
Hachette Audio | 9.25 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

This is an extraordinary audiobook about four extraordinary women who were war correspondents; the three women who are the subject of Becker’s book as well as the author herself. Adding to the remarkable story of these groundbreaking journalists is the skill of narrator Lisa Flanagan, who is pitch-perfect throughout this account of the trailblazers. She moves from harrowing action on the battlefields of Vietnam to the high-society backgrounds of two of the future journalists. This one is not to be missed. Read the review here.

Cruel as the Grave

by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles | Read by Mark Meadows
Bolinda Audio | 10.25 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

If you’re in the mood for a witty, engaging British police procedural, listen to this 22nd addition to the DCI Bill Slider series; you’re in for a real treat. Narrator Mark Meadows masterfully differentiates between the large cast of police investigators and suspects. Listeners accompany Slider and his team through London as they dig into the life of murder victim Erik Lingoss. Meadows expertly conveys the personalities of the key characters through pacing, accents and dramatic expressiveness. The many puns, witticisms and literary allusions heighten the listener’s enjoyment of this audiobook. Read the review here.

What Would Frida Do?

By Arianna Davis | Read by Marisa Blake
Dreamscape | 5.5 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Bilingual voice artist Marisa Blake narrates with a lovely warmth that makes this combination of biography and personal growth audio as delightful to hear as it is inspiring to absorb. Her beguiling tone and phrasing draw listeners into the world of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican-born painter who, despite suffering from polio and a bus accident, became an international symbol of fearless creativity and style. Both narrator and author convey reverence for their subject, making this a powerful and touching way to understand why Kahlo’s talent and courage still resonate. Read the review here.

A Simple Murder

By Linda Castillo | Read by Kathleen McInerney
Macmillan Audio | 10 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Kathleen McInerney returns to perform this collection of six short stories featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder. The stories focus on challenging domestic situations involving young women in the Amish community. McInerney manages through tone, pace, and intonation to differentiate between characters and voice the Amish words that are woven throughout. She raises the stakes and heightens the tension in each story through her dramatic performances. The story collection provides listeners with an exceptionally engaging audiobook delivered by a masterful narrator. Read the review here.

Later

By Stephen King | Read by Seth Numrich
Simon & Schuster Audio | 6.5 hrs
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Seth Numrich portrays Jamie Conklin, a young man who sees the dead and can compel them to answer questions truthfully. As a child, his mom’s girlfriend, an NYPD detective, asked him to force a dead man to reveal the location of a hidden bomb. This unleashed sinister forces that have stalked Jamie for years. As the 20-something Jamie remembers these traumatic supernatural events, Numrich sounds appropriately melancholic and haunted; he also illuminates moments of levity and warmth, mostly in Jamie’s musings about growing up and in his relationship with his mother. Read the review here.


This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.