Synopsis

For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger.

On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her.

As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.

If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.

From the author of My Oxford Year, Julia Whelan’s uplifting novel tells the story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel.

Audiobook Review

5 stars

She did it again. Swept me off my feet and impressed me so much!

I know people don’t always like comparisons but I can’t help compare Julia’s writing to that of… Taylor Jenkins Reid!

And yes I know that Julia Whelan narrated many book of TJR so maybe there is that.

If I had to describe Julia’s books I’d say: solid, mature, perfectly balanced with characters carefully fleshed out and having realistic relationship. And let’s not forget romance and smart banter! I adored the sarcasm, auto derision and plain humor in this one!

I read My Oxford Year last month and was really impressed! I pre ordered “Thank You for Listening”the minute I was aware of that book!

Of course, being an admirer of Julia Whelan’s work as a narrator I listened to is and it was…outstanding!

Sewanee and Brock’s story felt absolutely real and was filled with insights about the audiobook industry! Even if Julia Whelan states in her author’s notes that it does not represent the industry, I still learned so many information about recording audiobooks! How Sewanee is a stickler for the correct pronunciation (with asking Brock how he’ll intend to pronounce some words), how green apples are a godsend to narrator’s throats, that there is a prize for best narrators akin to the Oscars for audiobooks etc.

When you learn that Sewanee can make any accent and many different voices, male voices included, you can’t help seeing her as “our” talented Julia Whelan!

And similar to Sewanee, Julia Whelan stopped narrating romance a long time ago (if you are interested, she narrated romance under the name of Sophie Eastlake but has (mostly) stopped.

I know I know, this is fiction and not autobiography. But what I mean is that talking about something she intimately knows made that book even more realistic and a true delight!

I could gush for hours about that book that will be on my top reads of 2022 but let’s try “list style” here.

  1. Amazing characters with an unusual choice of heroine. Sewanee has gone through hell and came back kicking. She is taking care of her grandmother (who has Alzheimer) and that made my heart melt!
  • Meet not so cute but undeniably sarcastic and hot! Sewanee will meet Nick in Las Vegas and I adored their heated discussion about romance tropes and them building an imaginary story on the spot!
  • Excellent banter! Be it with Nick or in her DM with Brock, the dialogs, humor and banter had me snickering so often! Dry humor is my brand of fun!
  • Enlightening! I learned so much about narrating books it was pure delight!
  • All the feels but not heavy nor syrupy! I laughed, I cried, I raged… I felt everything but Julia Whelan never overdid it. It was just the right balance between lighthearted banter and serious topics.

This gave me feelings akin to Book Lovers this year.

Just read it!

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

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22 Comments

  1. A comparison to Taylor Jenkins Reid?! That makes me sit up and take notice! I have no idea how I missed that Whelan is an author in addition to a narrator. Where have I been! Glad this one was such a hit for you, Sophie!

  2. I just finished listening to this one a few days ago and thought it was really well done for all of the reasons you mentioned. I also just learned that Julia Whelan was a child actress on one of my favorite TV series, Once & Again so that made this read all the more interesting for me. She’s talented in many areas. 🙂

  3. I thought I recognized that name! I didn’t look closely at the synopsis the first time I saw it and now I am kicking myself for not requesting it. It sounds amazing and I am so happy that you loved it so much! 🙂

  4. I knew Whelan was a narrator, but I didn’t realize how many parallels there were between her and Sewanee. That’s wild. I loved this one. I have yet to read a TJR book, but if her writing is like this, I will love it.

  5. What a lovely review Sophie. I wasn’t sure if I was planning on picking this up even though I have been a fan of this narrator’s work for years, but your review definitely has me rethinking that. Also I love how balanced this book seems to be as well.

  6. Great review. I’ve heard great things about this book. I loved the premise for it. What a neat way to learn more about the audio book world. Can’t wait to read it.