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Valentine’s Day Listens

By Rose Cook, Cameron Philips and Kathryn Alley

Happy Valentine’s Day! We are so excited to celebrate this season of love with our favourite romance listens and heartwarming audiobooks. Cosy up with some chocolate and a warm drink and indulge in the respite of a perfect Valentine’s listen.

Rose’s Pick: Everything I Know About Love, Written and Narrated by Dolly Alderton

When we hear ‘Valentine’s Day’, romantic love, hearts, and flowers immediately come to mind. But this can also be a day to show your love and appreciation for many other people in your life – from friends to family – who are just as worthy of celebrating.

Everything I Know About Love is award-winning journalist Dolly Alderton’s memoir. After making it through her twenties, Alderton looks back on her life so far, detailing her loves and losses and what she has learned along the way. Alderton’s funny, frank and honest voice shines through in her narration as she imparts her stories and advice.

Although Dolly details her experiences of both romantic love and heartache, these are not the most compelling parts of the memoir. What stands out are the passages in which Alderton discusses her friendships, particularly those with other women, and how they kept her going even in the toughest of times. She represents genuine friendship and how important this love can be.

Often funny and sometimes emotional, Everything I Know About Love is a must-listen for those in the midst of the twenties experience, as well as anyone who will appreciate Alderton’s honesty. This audiobook shows us that love can take many forms and all can be equally valuable.

Cameron’s Pick: You, Again, Written by Kate Goldbeck and Narrated by Kristen Dimercurio

When Harry Met Sally is a classic of the romcom genre; like no other film, it captures the messy, unplanned and often years-long tale of falling in love. You, Again delivers this in spectacular fashion as well. The story follows Ari, a carefree comedian who always keeps things casual, and Josh, an up-and-coming chef who yearns to find The One and fall madly in love. Ari and Josh are beautifully crafted as complex characters, with their relationship growing from combatants to friends and then to lovers.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is the exploration of how external factors can challenge a blossoming love, whether it be the ambitions and impact of someone’s career, the nurturing and maintenance of friendship or familial responsibilities. Goldbeck also handles time jumps well, which is a very challenging part of a writer’s job. Kristen Dimercurio does a fantastic job weaving this tale through these time jumps, all the while making these characters come to life almost akin to a screenplay.

Ari and Josh are far from perfect. Sometimes they make the listener want to scream at the things they do or say. But this only makes the book more genuine and reflective of real life, as our imperfections often define us. One minute, Ari and Josh are being unpleasant and unkind, the next, it’s impossible not to sympathise with the situation they find themselves in. This way Goldbeck highlights that love is about as imperfect as the actual people falling in love. And if that isn’t enough, there is a great supporting cast of characters – like Gabe and Radhya – who act as foils to the protagonists.

Kathryn’s Pick: Maybe in Another Life, Written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Narrated by Julia Whelan

When you think of your favourite romance listens, you almost always return to the love stories that are impossible to forget – the listens that have a sense of beauty and timelessness that stay with you forever. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of those audiobooks: a captivating tale that explores the what ifs in life and the impossible might-have-beens.

The story follows Hannah Martin, who has held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college and is on the precipice of hopelessness. Reid explores in concurrent storylines how Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. It starts with deciding whether to stay at a bar with her old high school boyfriend Ethan or return home with her best friend. The simplest decisions develop radically different storylines with massive consequences for Hannah and the people around her.

What begins as a simple question of ‘what ifs’ becomes an existential discussion of fate and true love. Is love – true love – always meant to be or is it fated to slip through our fingers? Is there such a thing as a soulmate or are we all destined to wonder what might have been in another life? Whelan narrates brilliantly with an emotional complexity, inviting the audience to consider the dual nature of romance and happiness in our lives.

Maybe in Another Life is incredibly compelling and is one of the most formative, enjoyable audiobooks. You are sure to love every minute of it.


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