Past Tense

The Best Historical Audiobooks

Hi historical fiction friends!

I’ve had a migraine the past few days which always has a bad impact on my reading. Focusing on text feels like someone is trying to gouge my eyeballs out of my head, so ebooks and physical books are a bit of a problem during a migraine. Just about the only way I can get any reading done is with audiobooks, which also provide a nice distraction from the pain.

I’m a big believer that listening to audiobooks is just as legitimate a form of reading as any other, and I use them not only when I’m physically unable to read but also as a supplement to my other reading. Audiobooks are the perfect soundtrack for walking my dog, getting through chores, or long road trips. Basically what I’m saying is: thank goodness for audiobooks!

Bookish Goods

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New Releases

Carrie Soto Book Cover

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (August 30, 2022)

This much-anticipated new release from the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six follows a retired tennis star returning for one last competition.

The House of Fortune Book Cover

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton (August 30, 2022)

Following the Miniaturist, this sequel/companion novel returns to 1700s Amsterdam to tell the story of Nella Oortman’s niece, Thea. But as the family struggles to maintain appearances even as their fortunes fall, Nella feels a strange prickling at her neck and fears the miniaturist has returned.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I looked into some of the best rated audiobook performances (according to Audible) to give you a taste of where to begin with historical fiction audiobooks.

Daughters of the Dust Audiobook Cover

Daughters of the Dust: A Gullah-Geechee Novel by Julie Dash

Audible Hall of Fame narrator Bahni Turpin brings her experience as a television and film actress to this novel about an anthropology student from New York who goes to Sea Islands off the Carolina coast in the 1920s to explore her origins as part of a proud Gullah-Geechee family tracing their roots back to the Ibo in West Africa.

The Personal Librarian Audiobook Cover

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Robin Miles is another Hall of Fame narrator whose brilliant voice work has brought to life books as diverse as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and The Fifth Season. In The Personal Librarian, the incredible legacy of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, is brought to light. A Black woman who passed as white, Belle became a fixture of New York City society and a powerful force in the world of art and literature as she helped curate Morgan’s world-class collection.

The Prophets Audiobook Cover

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

Karen Chilton leans into a southern accent in her rendition of The Prophets that really brings this Civil War era story about love and betrayal to life.

That’s it for now, folx! Stay subscribed for more stories of yesteryear.

If you want to talk books (historical or otherwise), you can find me @rachelsbrittain on Instagram, Goodreads, Litsy, and occasionally Twitter.

Right now I’m reading African Town by Charles Waters. What about you?