Speaking of Audiobooks: For the Love of Older Titles in Audio Format

s Baby But MineAlthough I love seeing today’s top romance authors’ books released in audio format, it feels like an even bigger victory when I see the audio release of an older romance jewel with an excellent narrator to match their outstanding content. Today, we’re taking a look at books with an original print publication date prior to 2003 that are now successful audiobooks. The audio version may have been recorded 18 years ago or as recently as 2014. All were once favorites with romance readers and many are still readers’ favorites today as evidenced by their appearance on such lists as AAR’s Top 100.

I have listened to almost all of the titles on the list below and graded the content and narration a B or higher. For those I haven’t listened to… if I know the book has received high grades in print and the narrator is one I regularly grade high, I looked to favorable reviews from trusted fellow romance listeners. And I can’t help but personalize this even a little more. I have indicated with a star (*) those that are A listens for me.

You will see “hard-to-find” next to some titles. That indicates the title was originally released in hard copy (CD or audio cassette) and is no longer available from the publisher. Most of these titles are now available in digital download format on sites such as Audible and Downpour or through iTunes. But occasionally, these older audiobooks slip through the cracks, be it a rights issue or a library-only release, and we can only find these titles used online with high price tags.

If you are new to perusing these older audio choices, here are a few narrators who, although we may not see them performing much if any romance these days, were solid performers: Anna Fields (Kate Fleming), Jill Tanner, Josephine Bailey, Barbara Rosenblat, Steven Crossley, Simon Prebble, Dick Hill, Tom Stechshulte, and Sandra Burr.

If you are only listening to the latest audio releases from today’s bestselling romance authors, you are missing out on a lot of fun. Let us know if you want to add to the list!

SUSAN ANDERSEN

Head Over Heels 2002 – Anna Fields – hard-to-find

ADELE ASHWORTH

Winter Garden 2000 – Heather Wilds

MARY BALOGH

More Than a Mistress 2000 – Rosalyn Landor *

No Man’s Mistress 2001 – Rosalyn Landor

JO BEVERLEY

My Lady Notorious 1993 – Alison Larkin

An Unwilling Bride 1992 – Simon Prebble

The Devil’s Heiress 2001 – Simon Prebble

The Dragon’s Bride 2001 – Simon Prebble

An Arranged Marriage 1991 – Jill Tanner *

SUZANNE BROCKMANN

The first six entries in the Troubleshooter series are scheduled to be rerecorded in 2014 with Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbanks as narrators. (I’m excited about this news!) Late summer 2014 releases by Blackstone:

Over the Edge 2001 – Patrick Lawlor, Melanie Ewbank

Out of Control 2002 – Patrick Lawlor, Melanie Ewbank

Currently available:

Prince Joe 1996 – Ashley Adlon

Frisco’s Kid 1997 – Lauren Fortgang

CONNIE BROCKWAY

All Through the Night 1997 – Alison Larkin

Slow Heat in HeavenSANDRA BROWN

Slow Heat in Heaven 1988 – Dick Hill *

Envy 2001 – Victor Slezak *

The Witness 1995 – Joyce Bean

Breath of Scandal 1991 – Dick Hill

The Crush 2002 – Tom Wopat – only available in unabridged format at Downpour

JAYNE CASTLE

Amaryllis 1996 – Francis Cassidy – hard-to-find

After Dark 2000 – Joyce Bean

 

LORETTA CHASE

Lord of Scoundrels 1995 – Kate Reading *

JENNIFER CRUSIE

Manhunting 1993 – Renee Raudman *

Cinderella Deal 1996 – Susan Boyce

Anyone But You 1996 – Susan Ericksen *

TOM & SHARON CURTIS/LAURA LONDON

I have high hopes for this one – Christa Lewis sounds promising.

The Windflower 1984 – Christa Lewis – releases 4/29

DIANA GABALDON

All narrated by Davina Porter

Outlander 1991 *

Dragonfly in Amber 1992 *

Voyager 1993 *

Drums of Autumn 1996 *

The Fiery Cross 2001

JULIE GARWOOD

I’m not a Garwood fan but I do recall loving the first few I read 12 years ago. However, Garwood audio fans abound.

Prince Charming 1994 – Rosalyn Landor

The Secret 1992 – we prefer the hard-to-find version narrated by Jill Tanner * although there is a newer version with Susan Duerden

The Lion’s Lady 1988 – Susan Duerden

Ransom 1999 – Susan Duerden

The Bride 1989 – Rosalyn Landor

RACHEL GIBSON

Truly Madly Yours 1999 – Emma Bates

It Must Be Love 2001 – Rebecca Tripp

Let Me Be the OneJO GOODMAN

Let Me Be the One 2002 – Jill Tanner *

Tempting Torment 1989 – Jill Tanner *

GEORGETTE HEYER

I’m not close to being a Heyer purist – in fact I prefer the Naxos abridged versions especially with Richard Armitage narrating. (I have to admit that it was the Armitage factor that finally influenced me to start listening to Heyer. 

Abridged

Sylvester 1957 – Richard Armitage *

Venetia 1958 – Richard Armitage *

The Convenient Marriage 1934 – Richard Armitage *

The Grand Sophy 1950 – Clare Wille *

Unabridged

A Civil Contract 1961 – Phyllida Nash

The Unknown Ajax 1959 – Daniel Philpott

The Black Moth 1921 – Julian Rhind-Tutt

Sylvester 1957 – Nicholas Rowe

The Grand Sophy 1950 – Sarah Woodward

Faro’s Daughter 1941 – Laura Paton – hard-to-find

The Quiet Gentleman 1951 – Cornelius Garrett

LINDA HOWARD

Kill and Tell 1998 – Natalie Ross *

Midnight Rainbow 1985 – Brenda Sweeney *

After the Night 1995 – Natalie Ross *

Son of the Morning 1997 – Natalie Ross *

Dream Man 1995 – Phil Gigante *

Diamond Bay 1987 – Brenda Sweeney – coming from Dreamscape 5/14

Mackenzie’s Pleasure 1996 – Dennis Boutsikaris

Dying to Please 2002 – Susan Ericksen

Open Season 2001 – Kate Forbes (abridged)

Mr. Perfect 2000 – Laura Hicks

Heart of Fire 1993 – Tanya Eby

All the Queen’s Men 1999 – Kate Forbes

The Proposition IvoryJUDITH IVORY

Sleeping Beauty 1998 – Violet Primm *

The Indiscretion 2001 – Barbara Rosenblat *

The Proposition 1999 - Steven Crossley

Beast 1997 – Barbara Rosenblat

IRIS JOHANSEN

Reap the Wind 1991 – Laural Merlington

LAURA KINSALE

All narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Flowers from the Storm 1992 *

For My Lady’s Heart 1993 *

The Shadow and the Star 1991 *

My Sweet Folly 1997 *

Prince of Midnight 1990 *

Midsummer Moon 1987

The Dream Hunter 1994

LISA KLEYPAS

Suddenly You 2001 – Jill Tanner – hard-to-find (available for rental at Simply Audiobooks) *

Prince of Dreams 1995 – Susan Duerden *

Midnight Angel 1995 – Susan Duerden *

Then Came You 1993 – Rosalyn Landor

Lady Sophia’s Lover 2002 – Susan Duerden

FlashJAYNE ANN KRENTZ

Flash 1998 – Anna Fields

Lost and Found 2001 – Sandra Burr

Eclipse Bay 2000 – Joyce Bean

Dawn in Eclipse Bay 2001 – Joyce Bean

Summer in Eclipse Bay 2002 – Joyce Bean

Silver Linings 1991 – Mary Peiffer – hard-to-find

The Golden Chance 1990 – Patrick Lawlor & Franette Liebow

STEPHANIE LAURENS

Devil’s Bride 1998 – Simon Prebble

JOSIE LITTON

Dream of Me 2001 – Josephine Bailey *

JULIA LONDON

Upcoming Brilliance releases

All narrated by Anne Flosnik

Wicked Angel 1999 – 9/14 release

The Devil’s Love 1998 – 7/14 release

The Dangerous Gentleman 2000 releases 5/20

The Ruthless Charmer 2000 releases 5/20

The Beautiful Stranger 2001 releases 6/17

The Secret Lover 2002 releases 6/17

ELIZABETH LOWELL

To the Ends of the Earth 1998 – Laural Merlington

Reckless Love 1990 – Laural Merlington

I’m including three of the four titles in the Only series – partly in fun. Melinda and I had a show down in June 2011 over the fourth book in the series, Only Love (not listed here). She makes her argument for the Only series while I protest the narration. However, if you enjoy Old West cowboys (alpha extreme), these can be fun. They come with a warning though…

Only Mine 1992 – Richard Ferrone

Only His 1991 – Richard Ferrone

Only You 1992 – Richard Ferrone

Kiss of the HighlanderKAREN MARIE MONING

All narrated by Phil Gigante

Beyond the Highland Mist 1999

To Tame a Highland Warrior 1999

The Highlander’s Touch 2000

Kiss of the Highlander 2001 *

The Dark Highlander 2002 *

SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS

All narrated by Anna Fields

It Had to Be You 1994 *

Nobody’s Baby But Mine 1997 *

This Heart of Mine 2001 *

Kiss an Angel 1996 *

Dream a Little Dream 1998 *

First Lady 2001 *

Heaven, Texas 1995

MARY JO PUTNEY

The Spiral Path 2002 – Barbara Rosenblat

The Bartered Bride 2002 – Michael Page

Thunder and Roses 1993 – Peter Bishop

AMANDA QUICK

Mischief 1996 – Barbara Rosenblat

Ravished 1992 – Anne Flosnik

J.D. ROBB

In Death Series starting in 1995 – Susan Ericksen

NORA ROBERTS

Carnal Innocence 1991 – Tom Stechshulte *

Midnight Bayou 2001 – James Daniels, Sandra Burr

Montana Sky 1996 – Erika Leigh

Three Fates 2002 – Bernadette Quigley

The Villa 2001 – Laural Merlington

Chesapeake Blue 2002 – James Daniels

Hot Ice 1987 – Anna Fields

One SummerKAREN ROBARDS

One Summer 1993 – Anna Fields *

BARBARA SAMUEL

No Place Like Home 2002  – Kristine Thatcher *

Night of Fire 2000 – Jill Tanner – hard-to-find *

LAVYRLE SPENCER

Morning Glory 1989 – Kate Forbes – hard-to-find *

That Camden Summer 1996  – David Dukes – unabridged – hard-to-find

KATHERINE SUTCLIFFE

Darkling I Listen 2001 – Alyssa Bresnahan *

Whitehorse 1999 – Kate Reading *

 

Ending Notes

Welcome to Shannon, our newest audio reviewer here at AAR. You’ll soon be seeing her reviews along with those of Caz, LinnieGayl, and myself.

Check out our Speaking of Audiobooks Facebook page to see romance audio updates, industry news, and links to articles of interest.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, be sure to check out our audio archives for further recommendations and discussions.

Our affiliated Goodreads group – Romance Audiobooks keeps growing and now has 729 members. Come join us for discussions in between columns.

Enjoy your listening.

- Lea Hensley

 

 

 

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20 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: For the Love of Older Titles in Audio Format”

  1. LeeF says:

    Oh, man- what a great list. I laugh when I think how many of these you, Speaking of Audiobooks and Romance Audiobooks on Goodreads have influenced me to pick up with my Audible subscription. I am saving this to favorites for future reference.

    Isn’t it wonderful to be able to listen to so much great narration on one download rather than flipping through cassette after cassette after cassette? Definitely part of technology I have embraced!

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Oh I remember the days of cassettes too! And I’d be so worried about one getting all twisted up. Remember having to pull the tape out some and trying to get all the wrinkles out?! Thank goodness those days are gone.

      • LeeF says:

        And see- that just brings up happy, nostalgic memories of my cars that HAD cassette players :-)

  2. Melinda says:

    This is a great list! Wonder who we can nag to get those great LaVryle Spencer titles back in circulation? That Camden Summer (unabridged) was originally on Audible but is now replaced with the abridged version only, so I treasure my original download.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      At one time, I could find the unabridged audio cassette version of Morning Glory on Amazon or Barnes and Noble if I just kept looking. I couldn’t find it anywhere and the abridged version doesn’t come close to the unabridged. But I have Morning Glory’s cassette tapes sitting in my closet upstairs so I know it happened. Thanks to Brenda for making it into a MP3 file for me.

      The ISBN for the unabridged version of Morning Glory is 1-4025-2253-3. It was a Recorded Book release – I’d love to know if anyone can find it!

  3. Barbie Pomales says:

    Damn…I once heard Double Standards by Judith McNaught…man i would love to listen to that again…

    • Lea Hensley says:

      I never found a used copy of the unabridged version of Double Standards although I watched for years. I settled for the 2 hour (or shorter IIRC) abridged version finally which was one of the most frustrating audiobook experiences in my life!! I was so angry that it was passed off as a book – argh. If you locate the unabridged (even a record – it’s another that has disappeared from Amazon), I’d love to know more about it. Do you know who the narrator was?

  4. Lori says:

    Holy crap! LORETTA CHASE -Lord of Scoundrels 1995 – Kate Reading *!!!!!!!!! I would do many questionable things to get my hands on this.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Yes! It was just released in February. Blackstone is the publisher and released it in digital download and CD format so I think it likely that you can find a copy at your library. Good luck! It is wonderful – just wonderful.

  5. Carol Lamkin says:

    Thanks for your kind words about my boss, Barbara Rosenblat. Barbara definitely continues to narrate romance audiobooks, among a rather astonishing variety of genres.

    Barbara has just released a Kindle book (which you can read on any computer or mobile device; you don’t need to own a Kindle) entitled AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR: The Art of Recording Audio Books.

    Your readers might be interested to get an inside glimpse at the narrator/listener connection.

    Again, thanks for including Barbara among your list of “must-listen” audio book narrators.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Carol – I’m interested in knowing Barbara’s latest romance releases. I know she recorded A Susanna Kearsley recently. What are other romance releases over the past year?

  6. Steph says:

    I found I can download a lot of older titles through my state info-net library. Coincidentally I talk about it today on my site, Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust.
    I see there are quite a few titles and many states are using the same system: Overdrive. You need to download the app and it is not speed variable. But it is free!

  7. Renee says:

    I love audio books and recently got a hard to find cassette version of an audio book. This may be a dumb question but is there any way to convert the cassette tapes into a digital version? My lack of tech knowledge is showing :)

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Renee – yes there is. Let me see if I can find someone to better answer your question.

    • Melinda says:

      I got a cassette-to-digital converter thingy (that’s the technical name! LOL) at Radio Shack for a little more than I wanted to spend, and it consists of the right kind of cable to connect a cassette player to your computer. Then you need software to record into – on my Mac I might have used Garage Band. Or maybe I found some freeware? You record in real time, so I sat and listened while it recorded, which gave me the opportunity to edit out all those annoying notices at the end of every dang cassette about switching to the next cassette, as well as the equally annoying repeated sections at the beginning of every dang cassette (and what is up with that? People couldn’t remember the last minute of the previous cassette 10 years ago??)

      I guess this might not be as helpful as you need, but Google is your friend here – once you have the setup, it really is very easy. The one thing I had not realized was the part about recording in real time which you might want to consider – if you are never going to listen to it again, just play the cassettes and don’t bother with the cable, the software, and the editing. Especially if you are never going to invest in more cassettes!

  8. Renee says:

    Thanks for the help. I am going to give it a try. However, I just wish I could wiggle my nose like Bewitched and everything would be just like I want it to be. LOL

  9. Diane Farr says:

    I stuck a toe in the water and narrated my own novella, Dashing Through the Snow (originally published as Reckless Miss Ripley in the Signet anthology A Regency Christmas Eve). Wow, what a lot of work. LOL! I have gained a new appreciation for the professional narrators who do such a great job.

    I’d be interested to know what readers think about authors who narrate their own work. The kind folks at Audible seem to believe there’s a special bond between author and reader that makes people more interested to hear the author’s own “authentic” interpretation of a piece. But then, of course that’s what Audible would tell authors, isn’t it? [grin] Do you think there’s any truth to it?

    cheers,
    Diane Farr

    • Jane A says:

      I’m not sure you’ll see this message, I’m a little late in writing, but I think enjoyment of an audiobook narration is entirely dependent upon the quality of the voice used. I wouldn’t care if it were the author or not. In my favorite audiobooks the narrators sound fully invested in the story, so no, I personally don’t think there is any truth to Audible’s claim. But remember, I’m merely the user of the end product, I know nothing about the industry itself!

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