By Nuria Berbel Torres, Cameron Phillips, Sarunicka Satkuruparan and Kathryn Alley
Sunny days are just around the corner and of course the audiobooks team is here to give you the perfect listens to help you smash a summer walk, run or just have a day lounging in the sun.
Nuria’s Pick: The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald, narrated by Jilly Bond
I love a good cosy mystery in the summertime; so I bring you The Getaway Girls!
Connie McColl wakes up one day and decides to change up her life. She stumbles upon Gill and Maggie at a rather boring flower arranging class and while they’re very different women, they all agree that it’s time they each had some adventure in their lives. The three decide to take a holiday to remember and drive off together to the beautiful beaches of France, as they make a pact to make this their best summer yet. With those high expectations, the three friends have plenty of fun in the sunshine, but for Connie it’s not quite the holiday she expected. Gill is determined to have one last summertime romance, Maggie has a secret that will catch up with all of them and Connie has a mysterious inheritance waiting for her as they cross into Italy…
This is a beautiful summertime read that follows a journey of friendships, romance and living life to the fullest. Bond’s talent helps make this a light-hearted listen that will make you laugh and smile at these ladies’ crazy adventures.
Cam’s Pick: Who is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers
Who is Vera Kelly? is an intriguing coming-of-age novel that combines the youthful story of Vera Kelly with the trappings of a spy-thriller set between Vera’s patchy life in New York’s hip and inclusive Greenwich Village, to that of CIA operative undercover in a revolutionary Buenos Aires.
Rodgers narrates the tale with great tact, between Vera’s experience finding herself in every way in New York to planting bugs and spying on student revolutionaries in 1960s Argentina. It must be said that I actually preferred Vera’s personal story, the inner conflict to be true to herself as opposed to the conflict she faces in Buenos Aires. Whilst I feel that the thriller section of this book could have been more tense and interesting, it provides a nice foil to what I saw as the primary tale being told. In addition, Rodgers' facilitation of the Spanish phrases within the book does a great job in attempting to immerse the reader during Vera’s time in Argentina.
Sarunicka’s Pick: Happy Place by Emily Henry, Narrated by Julia Whelan
My summer sunshine read is Happy Place by Emily Henry, narrated by Julia Whelan, a recent release which brings the easy, feel-good listen we all want during the summer. No matter what is going on in their lives, this group of six make it their mission to meet up at this cottage every year, leaving behind their lives to soak up the sea air with their favourite people. Harriet and Wyn have recently broken up but are yet to tell their closest friends as they all come together for one last dance before the cottage is gone for good.
This is a story about growing up in your late twenties, the priorities and consequences of the way you chose to live your life and how it’s never too late change if something isn’t working. Relatable characters worrying about growing up, being too much and tackling loneliness all make this an exceptionally comforting listen. The found family trope and nostalgia this book gives is what made it stand out to me. Julia Whelan’s narration elevates the story tenfold and really carries the momentum, even when the miscommunication makes the story frustrating at times.
Kathryn’s Pick: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, narrated by Erin Mallon
One of the best parts of summer is enjoying a feel-good story that celebrates the warmth of the season and the memories to come. My summer sunshine audiobook is Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren and narrated by Erin Mallon. This listen tells the story of Elliot and Macy, whose friendship and relationship journeys back and forth between the past and the present as themes of grief, loss and trauma are explored. After a mysterious falling out, the characters reunite eleven years later in a coffee shop in a heart-breaking, beautiful manner.
Mallon’s narration is brilliant, capturing the tropes of friends to lovers and right person, wrong time perfectly. Macy and Elliot share a love of literature and the heart of the listen is when they ask each other what their favourite word is. As each year progresses, Macy and Elliot process their own brokenness and painful circumstances, coming to the realisation that their favourite person, comfort and word will always be each other.
This contemporary romance is sure to inspire you this summer for any beach read, road trip, or cosy day in the park.