Maria Dueñas, Gregory Maguire, & Henning Mankell’s last book | October Fiction on Audio

Acevado, Chantal. The Living Infinite. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538478561. Read by Roxanne Herandez, Kyla Garcia, & Eddie Lopez.
Based on the true story of the Spanish princess Eulalia, an outspoken firebrand at the Bourbon court during the troubled and decadent final years of her family’s reign. After her cloistered childhood at the Spanish court, her youth spent in exile, and a loveless marriage, Eulalia gladly departs Europe for the New World. In the company of Tomás Aragón, the son of her one-time wet nurse and a small-town bookseller with a thirst for adventure, she travels by ship, first to a Cuba bubbling with revolutionary fervor then on to the 1893 Chicago World Fair. As far as others are concerned, she is there as an emissary of the Bourbon dynasty and a guest of the Fair. Secretly, she is in America to find a publisher for her scandalous, incendiary autobiography, a book that might well turn the old world order on its head.

Aciman, André. Call Me by Your Name. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427291691. Read by Armie Hammer.
The story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

Alarcón, Daniel. The King Is Always Above the People. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525498032. Reader TBA.
In “The Thousands,” people are on the move and forging new paths; hope and heartbreak abound. A man deals with the fallout of his blind relatives’ mysterious deaths and his father’s mental breakdown and incarceration in “The Bridge.” A gang member discovers a way to forgiveness and redemption through the haze of violence and trauma in “The Ballad of Rocky Rontal.” And in the novella, “The Auroras,” a man severs himself from his old life and seeks to make a new one in a new city, only to find himself seduced and controlled by a powerful woman.

Bailey, Sarah. The Dark Lake. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478996866. Read by Kate Hosking.
The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama. As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Boyd, Natasha. The Indigo Girl. Blackstone. ISBN 9781455137183. Read by Saskia Maarleveld.
The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is 16 years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything. Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

Carter, Meg. The Day She Can’t Forget. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520081359. Read by Lucy Paterson.
On a cold evening, Zeb, a single mum in her thirties, is found wandering aimlessly on a remote road. She is dazed, confused, and bloodied. She doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. She has travelled far from home and someone has attacked her. Memory loss means she can trust no one, and, with her assailant unidentified, Zeb is desperate to be reunited with her son and to ensure his safety. But what will her search for the truth uncover? Will it bring answers or more questions?

Cash, Wiley. The Last Ballad. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538454923. Reader TBA.
Twelve times a week, 28-year old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, NC. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for 72 hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband John has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever she can find. When the union leaflets first come through the mill, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including lies, threats, and bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.

Constantine, Liv. The Last Mrs. Parrish. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538455289. Reader TBA.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, CT, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real-estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairy tale, blessed with two lovely young daughters. Amber’s envy could eat her alive—if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life, the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

Desombre, Daria. The Sin Collector. Brilliance. ISBN 9781543602890. Read by Lauren Ezzo.
Ever since the unsolved murder of her father, law student Masha Karavay has nursed an obsession with homicide cases. When she nabs an internship with Moscow’s Central Directorate Headquarters, seasoned detective Andrey Yakovlev gives her a file of bizarre, seemingly unrelated slayings that should keep her busy and out of his way. But when Masha discerns a connection between the crimes and the symbolic world of medieval Moscow, she has Andrey’s full attention. The victims weren’t just abandoned, they were displayed—from Red Square to Kutafya Tower to the Bersenevskaya waterfront. What Masha and Andrey are dealing with is no ordinary serial killer but rather a psycho with an unfathomable purpose, guided by sacred texts to punish his victims in the most unspeakable—and public—ways.

Dueñas, Maria. The Vineyard. Brilliance. ISBN 9781543640632. Read by Malcolm Hillgartner.
Mauro Larrea’s fortune, the result of years of hardship and toil, comes crashing down on the heels of a calamitous event. Swamped by debt and uncertainty, he gambles the last of his money in a daring play that wins him an abandoned house and a vineyard an ocean away. Mauro travels to Andalusia de Jerez in Spain with every intention of selling the property and returning to Mexico. That is, until he meets the unsettling Soledad Montalvo, the wife of a London wine merchant, who bursts into his life unannounced, determined to protect her family’s legacy. Before long, Larrea finds himself immersed in the rich culture of the sherry trade. As his feelings for Soledad ripen into a consuming passion, he seeks to restore the vineyard to its former glory.

Hanks, Tom. Uncommon Type. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781101923658. Read by the author.
In these 17 short stories, a gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war; a man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves, and an eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life.

Hearne, Kevin. A Plague of Giants. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780804128810. Reader TBA.
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men. Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light. Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.

Hornak, Francesca. Seven Days of Us. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525498926. Read by Jilly Bond.
It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week—and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent wifi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

Macmillan, Gilly. Odd Child Out. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538454985. Reader TBA.
Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable. But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t—or won’t—tell anyone what happened. Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident. But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle. Noah is British. Abdi is a Somali refugee. And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol. Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.

Maguire, Gregory. Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker. HarperAudio. ISBN 9780062694461. Reader TBA.
Maguire recreates the backstory of the Nutcracker, reimaging how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how it magically guided an ailing little girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a snowy Christmas Eve. It also brings to life the mysterious godfather Drosselmeier—the ominous, canny, one-eyed toymaker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s ballet—who presents the once and future Nutcracker to his goddaughter.

Mankell, Henning. After the Fire. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525524205. Reader TBA.
Fredrik Welin is a former surgeon who retired in disgrace decades earlier to a tiny island on which he is the only resident. He has a daughter he rarely sees and his mailman, Jansson, is the closest thing he has to a friend, and to an adversary. He is perfectly content to live out his days in quiet solitude. One autumn evening, he is startled awake by a blinding light—only to discover that his house is on fire. With the help of Jansson, he escapes the flames just in time wearing two left boots. Dawn reveals that everything he owns is now a smoldering pile of ash and his house is destroyed, forcing him to move into an abandoned trailer on his island. A local journalist, Lisa Modin, who wants to write a story about the fire, comes into his life. In doing so, she awakens in him something that he thought was long dead. Soon after, his daughter comes to the island with surprising news of her own. Meanwhile, the police suspect Fredrik of arson because he had a sizable insurance claim on his house. When Fredrik is away from the archipelago, another house goes up in flames and the community realizes they have an arsonist in their midst.

McGhee, Alison. Never Coming Back. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520081557. Read by the author.
When Clara Winter left her rural mountain town for college, she never looked back. Her mother, Tamar, a fiercely independent but loving woman who raised Clara on her own, all but pushed her out the door, forcing Clara to build a new life for herself, far from her roots, far from her high-school boyfriend, and far from the life she had known. Now more than a decade has passed, and Clara, a successful writer, has been summoned home. Tamar has become increasingly forgetful and can no longer live on her own. But, just as her mother’s memory is beginning to slip away, Clara’s questions are building: Why was Tamar so insistent that Clara leave home all those years ago? What secrets was she hiding?

Silva, Samantha. Mr. Dickens and His Carol. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427292728. Reader TBA.
For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. His novels are literary blockbusters, and he is famous on the streets of London, where avid fans sneak up on him to snip off pieces of his hair. He and his wife have five happy children, a sixth on the way, and a home filled with every comfort they could imagine. But when Dickens’ newest book is a flop, the glorious life he has built for himself threatens to collapse around him. His publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife and children planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics going in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit. Increasingly frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman in a purple cloak, who might be just the muse he needs.

Snoeskstra, Anna. Little Secrets. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538472163. Read by Saska Maarleveld.
An arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia, most recently burning down the town’s courthouse and killing a young boy who was trapped inside. The clock is ticking for Rose Blakey. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her job pulling beers for cops at the local tavern isn’t nearly enough to cover rent. Rose needs a story—a big one. In the weeks after the courthouse fire, precise porcelain replicas of Colmstock’s daughters begin turning up on doorsteps, terrifying parents and testing the limits of the town’s already fractured police force. Rose may have finally found her story. But as her articles gain traction and the boundaries of her investigation blur, Colmstock is seized by a seething paranoia. Soon, no one is safe from suspicion.

Solomon, Rivers. An Unkindness of Ghosts. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538474990. Read by Cherise Booth.
Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world. Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical promised land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda’s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sewing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she’s willing to fight for it.

St. Aubyn, Edward. Dunbar. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525495468. Reader TBA.
Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global media corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he hands over care of the corporation to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan, but as relations sour he starts to doubt the wisdom of past decisions. Now imprisoned in Meadowmeade, an upscale sanatorium in rural England, with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.

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