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Top 25 Romance Audiobooks

Best 25 Romance Audiobooks

WARNING!! The list below should be used very carefully – if you are driving and listening to one of these novels, you could very well cause an accident since – well – sometimes the scenes get a little steamy, and you and your windows might, too! If you are on a plane/train, red faces may occur, and you might start to sweat a little.

There is no doubt that for the past decade or so audiobooks have become an increasingly popular way to keep up with novels we don't have time to sit down and read, and they help us find ways to keep ourselves occupied on road trips, in traffic on the way to and from work, running errands, etc. Audiobooks are also tricky, however.

If you have ever listened to one, there is a fine line between acting and "acting" – especially when it comes to romance. The heroes' and heroines' voices in our heads when we read a book are literally brought to life when we listen to one of these novels – done right, they can be fantastic. Done poorly, they can just suck the life out of the story.

So, this list is a little different, since no matter how good the book is, if the narrator isn't good, the experience of the story won't be either.

So, here is a list of the best audiobook romance books, but with the list focused on the quality of the novels' narrators – both male and female - out there (in alphabetical order by narrator).

We try to combine the best books with the best narrators as the primary criterion for selecting these audiobook choices – you need both narration talent and an outstanding story to get a great romance audiobook.

However, we feel the most important quality is the narrator. A great romance book read by a bad narrator means a subpar romance audiobook. But an outstanding narrator reading a mediocre book can transform a mediocre story into a thrilling audiobook.

So the narrator is key!

Since narrators often narrate an entire series, or for more than one author, I have included highlights for each narrator so you will never find yourself "one and done" with these great storytellers!

So here you have it, for your listening pleasure – and believe me, it will most definitely be a pleasure!

Happy listening!

Oh, that voice that amazing voice! Bouldon was born in Gibraltar, raised in Ireland and educated in England it makes for quite the combination. Plus, he had dramatic training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Without doubt, my favorite narration of his is Laura Kinsale's "The Prince of Midnight" (2013). Damn is he HOT on this book it is 15 hours, 17 minutes long, and he keeps you mesmerized every minute. It's seriously the kind of audiobook that would force you to take the long way home since you don't want to turn the car off! Bouldon is a master of inhabiting his characters both male and female, old and young. He truly becomes them, and he brings us along for a fantastic ride! He is currently one of the busiest narrators working he narrates all of Laura Kinsale's books, and he also did a great narration of Elizabeth Kingston's "The King's Man" and Alexis Hall's "Glitterland."

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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Being awarded an Earphones Award by AudioFile and being named one of the "best voices" for 2012 and 2013, Craden was born and raised on the east coast, and now makes her home in Los Angeles.

Craden has a great, almost baritone voice which is both confident and conversational. She is great with inflection, and a lot of times you actually feel like she is in the room telling you a story about friends of hers.

She is best known for narrating books for Georgia Beers's f/f fiction, including "A Little Bit of Spice" (2015) and "Rescued Heart" (2016). Listen to a sample of the narrator

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An Earphones Award winner, Crisden is a versatile narrator who has done audiobooks from romance to fantasy to science fiction. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he now lives in Arizona.

One of the better narrations by him is Brenda Jackson's "Bane" (2015).  He has this great, folksy voice that gently eases you into the story, making it easy and fun to listen to, and before you know it, Crisden is your best friend telling you a naughty story and you find yourself on the edge of your seat just waiting to hear what happens next.

Other novels he has narrated include Cardeno C's m/m "Blue Mountain" (2014) and the sweet story from Andrew Grey, "Love MeansHealing" (2014).

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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Wow talk about prolific! Crossley has recorded over 200 audiobooks, and is one of the most in-demand narrators out there. The winner of numerous Earphones Awards, he has narrated books in multiple genres. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and has had great success both in the US and abroad.

Without a doubt the thing that makes Crossley so successful is his use of inflection there is truly an art to the dramatic use of inflection, and Crossley is an expert. A fantastic example of this is in one of my favorite novels he narrates Judith Ivory's "The Proposition" (1999).

Some other romances he has narrated that are also wonderful listens include Jojo Moyes's "Me Before You" (2012- where he partners with Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Alex Tregear, Andrew Wincott and Owen Lindsay) and Stephanie Laurens's "Beyond Seduction" (2007).

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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Born and raised in Michigan, after college Dawe moved to Chicago where -in addition to audiobook narration - she has worked in television, film, and even stand-up comedy.

While she has narrated dozens of books, she is pretty much dedicated to Nalini Singh and it shows. My favorite book she does is Singh's "Slave to Sensation" (2006). Serious, direct, and confident, Dawe's tone and pacing take on the edginess of Singh's novels, which is why the partnership works so well.

Another favorite narrated by Dawe is Nora Roberts's "Playing the Odds" (2012).

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Psy-Changeling Series (15)

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There's something about the British that we cannot resist! An Audie Award winner and multiple Earphones Award winner, Duerden is also a Broadway and West End actress, and has done several television shows.

One of my favorite novels she narrates is Eloisa James's "Three Weeks with Lady X" (2014). She does a fantastic job switching between the characters and the narration seamlessly, and is a master at bringing the pages to life with her warm, conversational tone.

Some other really good novels she narrates are Eloisa James's "An Affair Before Christmas" (2009) and Julie Garwood's "The Lion's Lady" (2010).

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Desperate Duches... Series (3)

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Eyre has narrated over 300 (!!) audiobooks. She has won an Audie Award and several Earphones Awards, and she is best known for her mastery of various accents. She is fluent in multiple languages, and has also starred on screen (both big and small) and is an accomplished stage actress.

So, there are literally a dozen books she narrates that I absolutely love however, I will pick from a couple of my favorite authors for her starting with Sarah MacLean's "Never Judge a Book by Her Cover" (2014). This is difficult since you really need to read/listen to the other books in the Lord of Scoundrels seriesbut this one is SO, SO goodyou can literally see Eyre rolling her eyes or stomping her feet throughout the narrative. It's simply fabulous!

Another favorite is Sylvia Day's Regency romance "Pride and Pleasure" (2013). Her standard British accent is perfect, the changing POV (points of view) done seamlessly and the "naughty bits" are quite enjoyable!

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in The Rules of Sco... Series (4)

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Anna Fields was the stage name that Kate Fleming adopted as a tribute to her grandmother. Born and raised in Virginia, she studied drama in graduate school in Kentucky and eventually settled in the state of Washington.

Recording over 200 titles in her relatively short life (she died tragically in a flood in 2006 at age 41), she was an award-winning narrator who was much admired for her ability to transition between characters with no break in the narration, be the characters male or female, old or young, or all of them at the same time this kind of smooth transitioning can truly be a challenge for most narrators.

Fields is best known in the romance world for her narration of 16 of the Chicago Stars novels by Susan Elizabeth Phillips my personal favorite being "Natural Born Charmer" (2007), although honestly all of them are good, and she always makes the heroines her own!

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Chicago Stars Series (9)

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If this list were being written in order of popularity, Gigante would probably be #1. At or close to the top of every single audiobook narrator list, Gigante brings a sexy confidence to his narration and a fantastic sense of humor. You literally find yourself laughing along with him in some parts, and hanging on every word in others.

He has narrated close to 100 audiobooks, but is best known for his work on Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series. Probably his best narrations are "Kiss of the Highlander" (2008) and "Spell of the Highlander" (2005), and he also did a great job on Linda Howard's "Dream Man" (1998).

In addition, however, he is also one of the narrators on probably my all-time favorite audiobook. He and Natalie Ross combine for what is simply fantastic listening: Karen Marie Moning's "Dreamfever" (2009) sigh

Here is a sample from "Kiss of the Highlander:"

And a sample from "Dreamfever:"

Note: In 2015, Phil Gigante was arrested, charged and pleaded guilty to several charges involving a minor and possession of "child sexually abusive material" (pictures of the minor in question). I mention this since it might impact your willingness to buy or support any materials he made. However, I also believe in the criminal justice system, and know that no one is perfect he committed a crime, pleaded guilty and paid the price for it. I believe that everyone has the right to move on once they have done their time. For more information on the case: http://www.shorelinemedia.net/ludington_daily_news/news/local/phil-gigante-pleads-guilty-to-accosting-a-child-for-immoral/article_502116d2-71d4-11e5-a921-8b0e8f496b4a.html#.Vp2TfdoHX0g.twitter

Books in Highlander Series (8)

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Best known for his "immersive delivery," J.F Harding is relatively new to the narration scene starting in 2013. However, since then he has been incredibly busy, incredibly successful (nominated for several awards) and has become the "go-to" narrator for Abigail Roux's m/m Cut and Run series books.

Some of the highest rated audiobooks by Harding are Roux's "Crash and Burn" (2015) and "Stars and Stripes" (2012). He does a great job with the two heroes, giving them different dimensions and clear and distinctive personalities including a fantastic growl/drawl for Zane's character.

He also narrated another m/m favorite, Maris Black's "Kage" (2015). It's a romantic thriller with quite a few really intense scenes that Harding handles extremely well, bringing a sense of passion and compelling drama to his storytelling.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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Winner of an Audie Award, several Earphones Awards, named "Best Voice" in 2009 and 2010, and a finalist for the 2016 Audie Award, Landon was born and raised in London, where she had a relatively active career as a child actress. As an adult, she has been on television and in movies on both sides of the Atlantic, and has made quite a career narrating audiobooks. In some ways she reminds me of actress Angela Lansbury when she used to narrate "Murder She Wrote," and whose voice I could literally listen to all day long.

It's actually difficult to narrow down the list of books of hers that I like to just 1-2, so I won't!

Probably my favorite book she narrates is Julie Garwood's "The Bride" (2011). She has such a wonderful sense of humor here, and draws in the audience with her fantastic timing.

A second narration of hers that I really enjoyed was Julia Quinn's "Because of Miss Bridgerton" (2016) she does an outstanding job with both male and female characters, giving them all life and energy, and bringing the listener along with her!

Although she has narrated novels for other "big" romance authors like Sarah MacLean, Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas and Cathy Maxwell, the third narration I will mention is Mary Balogh's "Only Enchanting" (2014), where she handles the story's focus on issues involving abandonment and betrayal with compassion and understanding.

Here is a sample from "The Bride"

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Born and raised in England by a British diplomat father and an American mother, Leishman recalls being read to a lot as a child. As an adult, she strives to capture the lyricism she recalls from those wonderful childhood tales.

One of the more popular books which Leishman narrates is Sherry Thomas's "Private Arrangements" (2008). She tells the story as if she were reading to you at a book club I appreciate her use of the different voices for the dialogue, and her use of phrasing is truly masterful. She has a fantastic sense of timing, using pauses and showing great spontaneity as she weaves the story together.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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Yet another fantastic British narrator, Phyllida Nash has taken on Georgette Heyer and made the novels her own. Her strengths are in differentiating characters and portraying each of them brilliantly, although at times the heroines might seem a little older than their stated years (although this also seems to be somewhat true in the novels, themselves).

My favorite narration she does is Georgette Heyer's "Cotillion" (2007 version) the witty dialogue so popular in Regency romance, and the wistful, wonderful yearning are all phrased and portrayed beautifully here.

Another novel that Nash does extremely well is Heyer's "Venetia" (2011 version). She again pays exceptional attention to the pacing of the traditional Regency romance to elicit all of the humor of the expected witty dialogue and the classic Shakespearean references.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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An Audie Award and Earphones Award winner, Parker has a degree from Boston University and the London Academy of Dramatic Art, where she studied Shakespeare. Claiming that she "loved books long before [she] could read them," Parker brings a certain passion and commitment to her narration which really draws the reader in.

Best known for her narration of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, they are all fantastic. You can definitely just start with the first one, "Dead Until Dark" (2001), and listen all the way through the series. If you like the television series "True Blood," this is where it started!

Parker uses a somewhat "low brow," slightly Southern accent in narrating the series, making the characters all very accessible and relatable. She seems like she smiles a lot while she is reading, creating a warm relationship between herself and the characters she is portraying.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Sookie Stackhous Series (13)

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Yowza! That's about all that can be said about Shari Peele and her Audie Award-nominated narration. She definitely "brings the smooth."

One of the best books that she has narrated is Zuri Day's "Packing Heat" (2016). She has an amazing voice that takes you right along on the journey with her, and I love how she creates such fantastic character voices along with her deep, sultry-voiced narration. She doesn't just throw away the side characters, but gives them distinct voices/personalities, and her pacing/phrasing are exceptional, and she is so, so, so easy (and fun) to listen to!

Another novel she narrates that is a lot of fun to listen to is Brenda Jackson's "The Secret Affair" (2014). Again, she has such a great tenor in her voice, and a smooooooth quality as she narrates, it draws you right into the story so you cannot stop listening. She has one of those voices that could read the phone book and make it sound good, but romance is SO much more fun than a phone book!

Listen to a sample of the narrator

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A professionally trained and award-winning actor of stage, television and film, Petkoff has an amazing baritone voice that is incredibly intense.

By far my favorite narration by Petkoff is Kresley Cole's "A Hunger Like No Other" (2006). He smoothly shifts between Scottish accents for the characters and his narration, not missing a beat. He fully inhabits the different characters, both male and female, completely, bringing out each one's characteristics both strengths and weaknesses which makes them seem all the more human. The way he portrays them with a certain attention to tone makes it seem like he really relates to them, which makes them that much more connected to us.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Immortals After ... Series (19)

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AudioFile magazine calls her voice "one of the most elegant and refined in audiobooks." To which I respond with a hearty "AMEN!!"

The award-winning Porter is best known for her narration of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, which is absolutely incredible. In fact, many call her narration of that series the "gold standard" by which all others are judged. At or near the top of every single list of great narrators, Porter is an exceptionally talented storyteller one who draws you into the story and won't let you golikeever! She has narrated over 100 books and is easily able to switch between dialects, dialogue/narration and male and female characters, often within the same scene!

With her English/Scottish heritage, she embodies the culture like few others, and her soothing, cultivated inflections truly do "make" the narration.

You can pick any of the Outlander series books to hear her, but it is probably best to start with Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander: A Novel" (2004), since once you hear it, you will want to just keep listening to the rest of them.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Outlander Series (9)

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Earphones Award winner and Audie-nominated narrator Potter is a graduate of Boston University. She is also a television actress with multiple shows in her acting background.

I think the best word to describe her voice is "smoky," or maybe "sultry." The way she narrates creates an almost haunting experience (in a good way) that keeps you coming back for more. Probably the best novel narrated by Potter is Dianne Duvall's "A Sorceress of His Own" (2015), where she does a fantastic job with the main characters (although sometimes the background characters get a little predictable).

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Books in The Gifted Ones Series (2)

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When you look up the word "audiobook narrator" in the dictionary, sometimes there is a picture of Simon Prebble.

Born in Britain and now living in New York, Prebble has definitely made his mark. He has narrated close to 400 audiobooks and has been honored as one of AudioFile magazine's Golden Voices, won more than 20 Earphones Awards and been a finalist 14 times for an Audie Award. In 2006, he was named Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly, and he was named Booklist's 2010 Voice of Choice.

With all of those honors under his belt, he never disappoints. The key to his talent is his wide array of voices they are all fabulous very true to life, always singular and identifiable, and all very well thought out. He always does an especially good job with the fiale voices. To hear Prebble's incredible talent, there are numerous books to choose from, so, in no particular order, here are some of his best: Mary Jo Putney's "That Marriage Spell" (2006), Madelyn Hunter's "Secrets of Surrender" (2008), Stephanie Laurens's "Devil's Bride," (2009) and Julia Quinn's "It's in His Kiss" (2009).

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Another "born in England, now living in the US" audiobook author, Quirk has been nominated several times over the past few years for the Audie Award. With reviews that include words like "sensational," "delightful" and "masterful," she is certainly "full" of talent, and is a lot of fun to listen to.

Best known for narrating Kristen Callahan's Darkest London series, one of her finest is her narration of "Shadowdance" (2013). I really like how she embraces the tensions here this is no "fluffy" romance novel, it is an intriguing romantic suspense with an intense rivalry between the main characters. Quirk uses a lot of variety in her pacing and phrasing, along with a lot of vocal variety in terms of tone to bring the story and the characters alive.

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Darkest London Series (7)

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Narrator of dozens of audiobooks, she is the winner of multiple Earphones Awards and is a multiple nominee for numerous Audie Awards. Raudman has an extensive theater, radio, television and stage background, and spent some time starring in soap operas, which was no doubt great preparation for her role as an audiobook narrator!

I think what stands out the most for Raudman is not only her skillful narration, but also her enthusiasm. It is clear that she really "gets" the novels she narrates, and she is easily able to become one with the various characters she voices. Her narration comes across as genuine, and she really provides a lot of "extra" beyond just the words on the pages that she is reading.

A good example of this is probably best seen in Lisa Kleypas's "Blue-Eyed Devil" (2008). Her Southern accent draws you into the story about the Houston-based hero, and the fallen-from-grace heroine. Before you know it you have missed your exit

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in The Travises Series (4)

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Rosenblat has been called "one of the most beautiful voices in the world of audiobooks," causing one critic to claim "Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film." She has narrated more than 400 audiobooks and won six Audie Awards to date that is more than any other female narrator.  

Her voice really is incredible taking on accents without pause, and giving each character a singularly individual tone, pace and personality. I love how she incorporates whispers as part of her narration, it makes it sound like she has leaned toward us to whisper something important. She also has a great sense of timing, especially with humorous lines/scenes.

If I needed to pick a favorite by her, I would choose Katie MacAlister's "You Slay Me" (2004), although she is also fantastic on two novels by Judith Ivory: "Beast" (2011) and "The Indiscretion" (2009).

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Aisling Grey Series (4)

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An Earphones Award winner, Sterlin got her start in English repertory theater which did different plays each week. In one interview, she tells how one week she would be an 8-year-old boy, the next week a 65-year-old woman she said it was fantastic training for her future career as an audiobook narrator (although she never expected it to become a career)!

As someone who herself loves to read, Sterlin is outstanding at getting inside the heads and hearts of the characters she voices. Some of the better novels to demonstrate this include Sherry Thomas's "Ravishing the Heiress" (2012), Jo Goodman's "Beyond a Wicked Kiss" (2015) and Jo Beverley's "Winter Fire" (2003). It's interesting to note that although there are a lot of years in between the 2003 book, the 2012 book and the 2015 book, she is as solid and steady as a rock for each one embracing each story, each character, each scene as they come.

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Books in Fitzhugh Series (3)

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White has narrated over 200 books since she first got started in 1999, earned multiple Earphones Awards, been nominated for an Audie and has been named one of AudioFiles's "Best Voices." She brings a great flare to her narrating that makes it both fun and interesting to listen to. She creates characters that exude confidence and heart, and creates stories that are very well-rounded.

One of the best novels to showcase her narration is Julie James's "It Happened One Wedding," (2014), which requires the incorporation of somewhat sardonic humor, which White does beautifully.

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Books in FBI/US Attorney Series (6)

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It is very possible that I am saving the best for last well, at least 'my' best. York has a deep, deep, deep voice one which resonates and rumbles for days and days. Extremely sexy

Born in the UK, he spent much of his early life traveling around the world as a self-described "military brat." He ended up in New York City, where he resides today. He is one of the more popular male voices in audiobook romance, and once you listen to him you will easily understand why.

His voices are great even the female characters (which seem like they might not work with such a deep voice), he does a fantastic job on the humor, and the sex scenes are some of the sexiest I have ever heard. I read an interview with author Emma Chase where she told him that a listener actually ran into the car in front of her (no one was hurt) when she was listening to him narrate one of Chase's books.

If you are literally just looking for a quickie, you can check out Lauren Blakely's "Full Package" (2017) or "Big Rock" (2016), but if you are more in the mood to be romanced I would get Emma Chase's "Tangled" (2013). He and Elizabeth Louise also do a great collaboration on Colleen Hoover's incredibly popular novel "Confess" (2015).

Listen to a sample of the narrator

Books in Tangled Series (5)

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