Awards & Recognition #1 March LibraryReads pick is a historical treat for fans of Downton Abbey

LibraryReads’ March 2016 picks have something everyone: historical fiction lovers, psychological thrill seekers, dark fantasy fans, and Charlotte Brontë enthusiasts. Hear clips to find out why these LibraryReads make great listens.

View the full list of March LibraryReads picks here, and check out our LibraryReads Make Great Listens collection to see all of our BOT LibraryReads picks (since the program began).


THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WARfavorite_libraryreads
By Helen Simonson
Read by Fiona Hardingham


LibraryReads review: “Fans of Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand have reason to rejoice. She has created another engaging novel full of winsome characters, this time set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. Make a cup of tea and prepare to savor every page!”—Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

Why try the audio? Already drawing comparisons to such celebrated works of historical fiction as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this #1 LibraryReads pick is a testament to Simonson’s intelligence and gifted ability to create a charming story that is a pleasure to hear. Set against a rich historical backdrop, and featuring characters inspired by notable figures (such as Henry James, who lived in Rye at the time), this is a historical fiction listen that will satisfy fans of Downton Abbey and Elizabeth Strout. Listeners will be rooting for Beatrice and Hugh to get together, and book club members will relish discussing how the couple’s love develops. Plus, this is a great YA crossover choice—the protagonists are in their twenties, and will appeal to adults and teens alike.

★ “A bright confection of a book morphs into a story of dignity and backbone…Aficionados of Downton Abbey and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will sigh with pleasure.”—Kirkus, starred review

“Helen Simonson has outdone herself in this radiant follow-up to Major Pettigrew’s Last StandSimonson is like a Jane Austen for our day and age—she is that good—and THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR is nothing short of a treasure.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

By Lyndsay Faye
Read by Susie Riddell


LibraryReads review: “Jane Steele is a great read for lovers of Victorian literature who especially love their characters to have a lot of pluck! Jane Steele is the adventurous, irreverent, foul-mouthed broad that I so often loved about Jane Eyre, but in more wily circumstances. Remember that fabulous scene in Jane Eyre when she stands up to her aunt for the first time, and how you wanted to stand up from your comfy reading chair and cheer for her? Imagine an entire book just of those sorts of scenes. Absolutely fabulous fun!”
—Abbey Stroop, Herrick District Library, Holland, MI

Why try the audio? This deliciously dark, modern twist on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre will shock and delight fans of the original and entertain listeners of historical crime fiction. Narrator Susie Riddell will make listeners laugh out loud as she perfectly personifies Jane Steele’s wit and spunk. With the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth (April 21, 1816) fast approaching, now is the perfect time to highlight this beloved author’s work and introduce listeners to a new reimagining of their favorite classic.

“This is a wonderfully wicked book. The deadly first chapter actually made me gasp. Jane Steele is a character you will not soon forget. Great evil fun!”—R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series

By Anne Bishop
Read by Alexandra Harris


LibraryReads review: “In this thrilling installment, Bishop continues to explore the relationships of The Others and the humans who live at the Lakeside compound. Meanwhile, Humans First and Last organization has been making themselves known, after the attacks in the previous book that killed numerous Others along with their ‘Wolf Lover’ friends, they are not backing down. Little do they know it’s not the Others humans need to be wary of but the Elders for which the Others act as a buffer. This is an excellent installment in the novels of the Others, exciting, heart-wrenching and suspenseful.”
—Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

Why try the audio? Anne Bishop’s uniquely fascinating fantasy world is brought to life, as narrator Alexandra Harris gives voice to all manner of fantastic creatures (from vampires to werewolves to psychics!) Series fans will be eagerly awaiting this fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling A Novel of Others series. And new listeners who love dark contemporary fantasies and romance, as well as fans of Patricia Briggs, will find this equally entertaining.

By Elizabeth Brundage
Read by Kirsten Potter


LibraryReads review: “When the Clare family purchases a ramshackle farmhouse at a foreclosure auction, it appears that all is well in their world, until George comes home one evening from his job as an Art History Professor at the local private college and finds his wife murdered and their three-year-old untended yet unharmed. Told through the eyes of the townspeople and the families involved, this is a gorgeously unsettling look at a marriage and what happens to a community in the process of change.”
—Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

Why try the audio? Psychological thriller fans won’t be able to press pause on this riveting new audio. Listeners who enjoy Tana French‘s audiobooks will be hooked—this is both an emotionally complex examination of a marriage, and a dark, unsettling portrait of a psychopath. It’s a classic “who-dun-it” that morphs into a “why-and-how-dun-it.”

See all ten March LibraryReads 2016 picks on the LibraryReads site.

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