In the print world, selecting a book is largely about the author’s reputation and the genre of the title. Audiobooks add another concern, the narrator. Last June I highlighted five women readers of note: Katherine Kellgren, Robin Miles, Kirsten Potter, Kate Reading, and Juliet Stevenson. Here are five more voices of distinction, narrators who each make listening a joy.
- The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier, read by Cassandra Campbell (Books on Tape).
The warm voice of Campbell well matches Fortier’s time-slip novel of Amazons and modern-day adventurers. Campbell’s rich alto is flexible when shifting accents, and her keen management of pace creates an enveloping experience as listeners track the fate of an ancient warrior clan and those from the present who wish to find their lost treasures.
- The Bees by Laline Paull, read by Orlagh Cassidy (Blackstone Audio).
Cassidy, who excels at creating vivid characterizations and infusing her reading with emotion, narrates with verve this novel about the caste system of bees. As Flora 717 rises through the ranks of the hive, Cassidy helps listeners establish a strong sense of engagement with the story through her deft pacing and compelling tone.
- The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, read by Jennifer Ikeda (Penguin Audio).
Ikeda has infused the “All Souls” trilogy with a sense of danger and wonder from the start. The three-book set ends in July with this title, and listeners can trust Ikeda’s skill with accents, pacing, and inflection once again to pull them deep into the romance and adventures of Diana, the scholar-witch, and Matthew, the warrior/scientist vampire.
- Night Broken by Patricia Briggs, read by Lorelei King (Brilliance Audio).
King knows how to bring a novel to life, creating a richly textured backdrop to her narration by the intensity of her voice and shifts in emphasis. In this eighth installment of the highly regarded urban fantasy series, coyote shape-shifter Mercy Thompson must contend with her husband’s ex-wife.
- Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas, read by Jenny Sterlin (Recorded Bks.).
With a voice that can connote an infinite range of inflections and the ability to enunciate lush and real character voices, Sterlin is a narrator to know. Here she reads RITA Award winner Thomas’s acclaimed romance, the end of the Fitzhugh trilogy, in which amnesia and long-simmering attraction align.