Over the past year, every publisher, editor, and author I’ve spoken with has told me that contemporary romance is red hot! Romance genres tend to rise and fall in cycles of popularity, and right now contemporaries are all the rage. If this month’s selections are any indication, I can confirm that the rumors are true. The abundance and quality of contemporary romance audiobooks mean listeners may wish there were more hours in the day. I know I do.
What makes this batch of contemporaries appealing is the combinations of flawed characters who experience the transformational power of love, so aptly revealed by their narrators. It’s hard to empathize with a bride who jumps out a window to desert her groom, but Madeleine Maby pulls it off in SEARCHING FOR BEAUTIFUL. Therese Plummer dares listeners to go out on a limb for love in A NEW HOPE with her vulnerable, intense narration. In an iced-tea drawl, Chelsea Hatfield convinces listeners that love means forgiveness and hard work in A TASTE OF SUGAR. HOT POINT’s odd couple may worry that they don’t deserve their perfect match, but narrator Carrington MacDuffie extracts the real emotion that lies beneath the small talk. And narrators Saskia Maarleveld and Brian Hutchison play with that fine line between fooling around and crazy-in-love in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S ROMP.
As philosopher Lao Tzu wrote, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” In these titles, the audiobook experience amplifies that truth and conveys it powerfully to listeners.–Caitlin Augusta