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#RomBkLove Day 18: Speak to Me of Love

Blue graphic with books and a book light and the title: Day18: Romance audiobooks and #RomBkLove in English

When I thought about how best I could contributed to #RomBkLove almost my first idea was romance audiobooks with a focus on narrators. For those of us who love romance audio, we know it’s all about the narrator. A fantastic narrator can lift an okay book and make a great book come to life in new ways. I’ve said before that audio is a transformative medium. The listener experiences the story through the lens of the characterisation, tone, pacing and pitch of the narrator. When they get it right, it’s magic.

There are many brilliant narrators. My list of favourites is long but I’ve chosen just 6 to highlight today, paired with some of my favourite audiobooks from their catalogues.

American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera, narrated by Sean Crisden

photo of a Latinx young man in a long sleeved white t-shirt, one arm crossed at his waist, the other lifted to his face, his hand just touching his jaw, against a sunset coloured background.Why I read it:  This is one from my TBL.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Fairy-tale endings don’t just happen; they have to be fought for.

New York City social worker Camilo Santiago Briggs grew up surrounded by survivors who taught him to never rely on anything you didn’t earn yourself. He’s always dreamed of his own happily-ever-after, but he lives in the real world. Men who seem too good to be true usually are. And Milo never ever mixes business with pleasure until the mysterious man he had an unforgettable hookup with turns out to be the wealthy donor behind his agency’s new, next-level funding.

Thomas Hughes built a billion-dollar business from nothing: he knows what he wants and isn’t shy about going after it. When the enthralling stranger who blew his mind at a black-tie gala reappears, Tom’s more than ready to be his Prince Charming. Showering Milo with the very best of everything is how Tom shows his affection.

Trouble is, Milo’s not interested in any of it. The only thing Milo wants is Tom.

Fairy-tale endings take work as well as love. For Milo, that means learning to let someone take care of him, for a change. And for Tom, it’s figuring out that real love is the one thing you can’t buy.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I haven’t yet listened to American Dreamer, the first book in the series (though I have it on my TBL now), however, American Fairytale, the second book in the series, stands alone well. Each book, features one of a group of four close friends, most of whom are gay/queer and living in New York. None are white.

There is a vibrancy to the writing, which illustrates the diversity in New York. There is a marked difference to American Fairytale as compared to the all-white (or almost-all-white) New York-set contemporary romance which is commonly available and it was both authentic and so much more interesting to me. It felt more like the real world and less like a construct and the characters showcased different experiences and points of view than my own white experience. I loved it.

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