HomeNew suggestionsAudiobooks → Recommended new audiobooks #12

Recommended new audiobooks #12

Written by · Published Aug 28, 2018

The Tuscan Child, The Vegetarian

CD audiobooks

Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman, read by Laurence Bouvard

“Gillian and Sally were brought up by their two elderly guardian aunts in a world of spells and exotica. As the magical charm of their childhood wears away, they escape from this mystical mayhem - one by running away, the other by marrying.”

Love Will Tear Us Apart, by Holly Seddon, read by Kate Rawson

“Kate and Paul have been married for ten years. Childhood best friends who reconnected as adults, Paul now has a high-flying job while Kate looks after their two adorable children. Their friends think they’re the perfect couple. Everything should be wonderful.

“But Kate has a secret. One she’s sure Paul doesn’t know. Because if he did, would he really love her as much as he says he does? Or would he decide that their life together isn’t worth the vow he made all those years ago?”

Her Best Friend, by Sarah Wray, read by Emma Gregory

“Sylvie Armstrong has been running from her past for twenty years - until her mother’s death forces her to return to her home town, along with her newborn daughter.

“Overwhelmed by grief in her childhood home, Sylvie tries to block out the memories that surround her - but then someone leaves a gift on her doorstep: a gold necklace with a heart-shaped locket. This locket belonged to Sylvie’s best friend, Victoria Preston - and she was wearing it the night she died. Now it’s back in Sylvie’s life, and it soon becomes clear that somebody knows what really happened to Victoria. Sylvie has to know the truth. But is she in terrible danger?”

The Lido, by Libby Page, read by Clare Corbett

“Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life. But now everything she knows is changing - the library where she used to work has closed, the family fruit and veg shop has become a trendy bar, and her beloved husband George is gone.

“Kate has just moved and feels alone in a city that is too big for her. She’s at the bottom rung of her career as a journalist on a local paper, and is determined to make something of it. So when the local lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. And Rosemary knows it is the end of everything for her.

“Together they are determined to make a stand, to show that the pool is more than just a place to swim - it is the heart of the community. Together they will show the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.”

Time is a Killer, by Michel Bussi, read by Candida Gubbins

“It is summer 1989 and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.

“Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things - to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter.

“But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive. As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible - she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter - and why?”

Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh, read by Adam Sims

“They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife. This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

“All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind. What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom? What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?”

The Hour of Separation, by Katherine McMahon, read by Catherine Harvey

“March, 1939. Estelle is the headstrong daughter of Fleur, a Resistance legend who disappeared during the Great War. Only child Christa longs to break free from London suburbia, and fantasises about the Belgian heroine she believes saved her father.

“When Estelle comes looking for the truth about her mother, the two women become friends. Estelle invites Christa to De Eikenhoeve, her family’s country estate, where Christa encounters Estelle’s two brothers - brooding, tempestuous Robbe and dependable, golden-haired Pieter. During that long, hot summer, passions run high. When war breaks out Christa must return home, but not before she has done something she will regret for the rest of her life.”

Snap, by Belinda Bauer, read by Andrew Wincott

“On a stifling summer’s day, 11-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

“Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note that says: I could have killed you. Meanwhile Jack is still in charge - of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and - quite suddenly - of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. But the truth can be a dangerous thing.”

Snap has been longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

The Death of Mrs Westaway, by Ruth Ware, read by Imogen Church

“When Harriet Westaway receives a letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and she needs to get her hands on some cash fast. There’s just one problem - Hal’s real grandparents died more than 20 years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person.

“But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything.”

The Killing Habit, written and read by Mark Billingham

“How do you catch a killer who is yet to kill?

“We all know the signs. Cruelty, lack of empathy, the killing of animals. Now, pets on suburban London streets are being stalked by a shadow, and it could just be the start.

“DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of such offenders all too well, so when he is tasked with catching a notorious killer of domestic cats, he sees the chance to stop a series of homicides before they happen. Others are less convinced, so once more, Thorne relies on DI Nicola Tanner to help him solve the case, before the culprit starts hunting people. It’s a journey that brings them face to face with a killer who will tear their lives apart.”

Raven Black, by Ann Cleeves, read by Kenny Blyth

“The murder of teenager Catherine Ross sends shockwaves through a small Shetland community, and most of the fingers of blame point to loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But Catherine’s vicious and sudden demise has thrown a veil of suspicion over everyone who knew her, and one local detective is keeping all options open.”

Saving Faith, by David Baldacci, read by Michael Kramer

“This is a thriller about a cash-for-questions scandal involving the highest ranking members of the US government. Washington lobbyist Danny Buchanan has made a fortune peddling influence for his cash-rich client companies.”

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, read by Anna Massey

“Du Maurier’s famous tale of suspense, mystery and love concerns Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride and the house she is to inhabit, but that still reverberates to the haunting presence of his previous wife’s influence.”

Hornblower and the Crisis, by C. S. Forester, read by Christian Rodska

“It is 1805, and Napoleon prepares to invade England. Asked by the Admiralty to risk a shameful death, Hornblower agrees to a dangerous mission: turning spy to light a powder trail to Trafalgar.”

The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles, read by Paul Shelley

“Set in Lyme Regis in 1867, The French Lieutenant’s Woman tells the story of a woman wronged. The story is depicted against the background of an unrelenting Victorian England.”

Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, read by full cast

“Challenged to retrieve a fallen star, Tristan Thorn leaves the sleepy English village of Wall and crosses into the land of Faerie and the realm of Stormhold.

“Locating the star, he discovers it is no meteorite, but a young woman, Yvaine. When Yvaine evades him and escapes, Tristan discovers he is not the only one in pursuit of the star: there are dark forces in this magical land, and he must find Yvaine before she falls into their clutches. As he does so, Tristan will uncover the secret to his own identity and a fate beyond his wildest dreams.”

The Human Factor, by Graham Greene, read by Tim Pigott-Smith

“When a leak is traced back to a small sub-section of SIS, it sparks off security checks, tensions and suspicions - the sort of atmosphere where mistakes could be made. This novel opens up the lonely, isolated, neurotic world of the Secret Service.”

Every Living Thing, by James Herriot, read by Christopher Timothy

“Since they were first published, James Herriot’s memoirs have sold millions of copies and entranced generations of animal lovers. Charming, funny and touching, Every Living Thing is a heart-warming story of determination, love and companionship from one of Britain’s best-loved authors.”

The Miller’s Dance, by Winston Graham, read by Oliver Hembrough

“As the armies battle in Spain, and the political situation at home becomes daily more obscure, the Poldark and Warleggan families find themselves thrust into a turbulent new era.”

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An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones, read by Sean Crisden

“Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career.

“But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding.

“As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her centre. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

The Wave at Hanging Rock, by Gregg Dunnett, read by Shaun Grindell

“Natalie, a young doctor, sees her perfect life shattered when her husband is lost at sea. Everyone believes it’s a tragic accident. But a mysterious phone call prompts her to think otherwise. She sets out on a search for the truth.

“Jesse, a schoolboy, is moved half way around the world when his father is blown up in a science experiment gone wrong.

“Two seemingly unconnected tales. But how they come together will have you turning the pages late into the night. And the twist at the end will leave you reeling.

Call Me By Your Name, by André Aciman, read by Armie Hammer

Call Me by Your Name is 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.”

Nimona, by Noelle Stephenson, read by full cast

“Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson.

“Nimona is an impulsive young shape-shifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

“But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.”

Adolf Hitler: my part in his downfall, written and read by Spike Milligan

“‘At Victoria station the R.T.O. gave me a travel warrant, a white feather and a picture of Hitler marked “This is your enemy”. I searched every compartment, but he wasn’t on the train…’

“In this, the first of Spike Milligan’s uproarious recollections of life in the army, our hero takes us from the outbreak of war in 1939 (‘it must have been something we said’), through his attempts to avoid enlistment (‘time for my appendicitus, I thought’) and his gunner training in Bexhill (‘There was one drawback. No ammunition’) to the landing at Algiers in 1943 (‘I closed my eyes and faced the sun. I fell down a hatchway’). Filled with bathos, pathos and gales of ribald laughter, this is a barely sane helping of military goonery and superlative Milliganese.”

Dune, by Frank Herbert, read by Scott Brick

“Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud’dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family — and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.”

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

“It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

“Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

“For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

“Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.”

Blue Heaven, by C. J. Box, read by Henry Leyva

“A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother are on the run in the Idaho woods, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder — four men who know exactly who William and Annie are. And where their mother lives.

“Retired policemen from Los Angeles, the killers easily persuade the local sheriff to let them lead the search for the missing children. Now there’s nowhere left for William and Annie to hide and no one they can trust. Until they meet Jess Rawlins.

“Rawlins, an old-school rancher, knows trouble when he sees it. He is only one against four men who will stop at nothing to silence their witnesses. But these ex-cops don’t know just how far Rawlins will go to protect William and Annie and see that justice is done.”

A Death in Live Oak, by James Grippando, read by Jonathan Davis

“When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the University of Florida, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.

“Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Towson’s defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, knows that the stakes could not be higher — inside or outside the old Suwanee County Courthouse. The evidence against his client seems overwhelming. Then Jack gets a break that could turn the case. Jamal’s murder bears disturbing similarities to another lynching that occurred back in the Jim Crow days of 1944. Are the chilling parallels purely coincidental?

“With each twist and turn, Jack is convinced that his client may be the victim of something even more sinister than the case presented by the state attorney. For Jack, it’s about the truth. And he’s determined to find it, no matter what the cost.”

The Last Black Unicorn, written and read by Tiffany Haddish

“From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

“Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money — as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman — to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

“None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.”

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The Secret Barrister: stories of the law and how it’s broken, by The Secret Barrister, read by Jack Hawkins

“Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. They are sometimes funny, often moving and ultimately life-changing.

“How can you defend a child-abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to ten years who you believe to be innocent? What is the law and why do we need it?

“And why do they wear those stupid wigs?

“From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses and officers of the law, here is the best and worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system which would never be off the front pages if the public knew what it was really like.

“Both a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system, and a guide to how we got into this mess, The Secret Barrister wants to show you what it’s really like and why it really matters.”

Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward, read by Chris Chalk, Rutina Wesley & Kelvin Harrison Jr.

“Jojo is 13 years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.

“When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.”

Somebody I Used to Know, by Wendy Mitchell, read by Rachel Atkins

“In this phenomenal memoir - the first of its kind - Wendy grapples with questions most of us have never had to consider. What do you value when loss of memory reframes what you have, how you have lived and what you stand to lose? What happens when you can no longer recognise your own daughters or even, on the foggiest of days, yourself?

“Her career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone. Yet Wendy was determined not to give in. She was, and still is, propelled by a need to live in the moment, never knowing which version of herself might surface tomorrow.”

The Tuscan Child, by Rhys Bowen, read by Katy Sobey & Jonathan Keeble

“In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

“Nearly 30 years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

“Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history – and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now…”

Dead to Me, by Lesley Pearse, read by Eve Webster

“Spring 1935. On London’s Hampstead Heath two girls meet by chance: well-mannered and smartly dressed Verity and dishevelled and grubby Ruby. Yet the mismatched pair form an instant friendship strong enough to survive their parents’ disapproval.

“When war engulfs the country – sending Ruby to Devon while Verity struggles to find a new beginning under a shadow from her past – the girls are convinced they will always be there for each other.

“Until the day one breaks the other’s heart…

“Can Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it’s too late?”

The Vegetarian, by Han Kang, read by Janet Song & Stephen Park

“Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares.

“In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision is a shocking act of subversion. Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism. His cruelties drive her towards attempted suicide and hospitalisation. She unknowingly captivates her sister’s husband, a video artist. She becomes the focus of his increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, while spiralling further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming – impossibly, ecstatically – a tree.”

Without Fail, by Lee Child, read by Jeff Harding

“Jack Reacher walks alone.

“No job, no ID, no last known address. But he never turns down a plea for help. Now a woman tracks him down. A woman serving at the very heart of US power. A woman who needs Reacher’s assistance in her new job.

“Her job? Protecting the Vice-President of the United States.

“Her problem? Someone wants the VP dead.”

Angel of Storms, by Trudi Canavan, read by Hannah Norris & Piers Wehner

“Tyen is teaching mechanical magic at a school respected throughout the worlds. News arrives that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and students flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose … except the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

“After five years among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta, Rielle’s peaceful new life has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artisans of his celestial realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?”

Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare, read by Morena Baccarin

“It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

“Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

“Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark – who was captured by the faeries five years ago – has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind – and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognise his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.