The Publishing Post
Celebrating January Audiobook Releases
By Kathryn Alley, Nuria Bebel Torres and Cameron Phillips
2023 will be filled with many exciting and anticipated releases and, as the winter season continues into February, we’re here to bring you many comforting and exciting new listens. Here are the Audiobook Team’s picks for January 2023 releases that you won’t want to miss.
Cameron’s Pick: The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict, narrated by Jessica Fellowes
The Mitford Affair follows three sisters who, despite having gone through scandals before, dominate the interwar British society. However, the family is torn apart when one of the sisters, Diana, divorces her husband and marries a high-ranking fascist leader in Nazi Germany. This continues when Unity follows suit, even inciting rumours that she is the women at the side of Hitler himself. As the Nazi party rises to power at the beginning of the 1930s, the remaining sister, novelist Nancy, starts to catch wind of worrying conversations and unearths documentation that forces her to choose between her family and her country as Great Britain declares war on Germany. The paranoia of having German sympathising sisters wonderfully plays out in Nancy’s head, the worry of the company her sisters are keeping leading her to believe they are spying for the Germans in Britain.
This is a fantastic book, excellently narrated by Jessica Fellowes, who matches the nervous energy of interwar England and the pitfalls of the enigmatic, autocratic elites in society at the time. I had recently got back into reading/listening to historical fiction and this hit so many notes for me. I was particularly intrigued by the relationship between women and fascism, as it is such an interesting and oft overlooked topic where the focus is (ultimately rightly so) on the male drivers of the horrors of the ideology. Marie Benedict’s writing explores this relationship with care and subtlety and provides an interesting lens into the dynamic.
Nuria’s pick: The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff, narrated by Soneela Nankani
Geeta’s no-good husband is gone: walked out one day five years ago and never came back. But in her remote village in India, rumour has it that she was the one to kill him. This has led to Geeta being branded a “self-made” widow and, to her surprise, the name has some perks. People leave her alone, no one harasses her, messes with her or tries to marry her. Even her jewellery business booms because people fear not buying from her. However, Geeta’s peace starts being interrupted by more women wanting a taste of her freedom. More and more local women start asking for her “expertise” on no-good husband disposal – and not all of them are asking nicely. With Geeta’s reputation becoming a double-edged sword, she must find a way to protect the life she has built. Because even the best laid-out plans tend to go awry. Geeta’s actions set in motion a chain of events that will not only change her life but all the women in the village’s.
This newly-released debut novel is filled with clever criminals, second chances and witty and loveable women. Narrated by Soneela Nankani, who perfectly portrays the razor-sharp humour of the story, The Bandit Queens is an experience that listeners won’t soon forget.
Kathryn’s pick: Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn, narrated by Amelie Griffin
Georgie, All Along was one of my most anticipated listens going into 2023 and it did not disappoint. The heart of the narrative is a modern yet timeless love story that cleverly weaves together emotionally complex relationships. Part of Clayborn’s strengths lie in her ability to capture compelling vulnerability and craft raw characters that are relatable and genuine. Released toward the end of January, the novel follows Georgie Mulcahy, a recently unemployed assistant who has forgotten what it feels like to prioritise your own wants and dreams. Yearning to start over again, Georgie returns to a childhood journal outlining bucket list hopes for the future. With the help of some friends, Georgie must reconcile with her past and discern how she wants her future path to unfold. Georgie, All Along is quite emotional, made even more impactful with Amelie Griffin’s brilliant narration. Listeners will find Clayborn’s story to be particularly melancholic as Georgie sorts through memories with a blend of resentment and nostalgia. As Georgie wrestles with grief over her present life, there is inherent beauty that comes with noticing loveliness in the messy and a happy, fulfilling ending in the mundane. Georgie, All Along is an endearing audiobook to uplift your spirits as the new year unfolds.