Our Favorite Fiction Audiobooks of 2023

By Brandon Miller

As 2023 draws to a close, we’re sharing a few of our favorite fiction audiobooks that kept us enthralled throughout the year. These engaging audiobooks offer a little something for everyone, whether you enjoy sweeping historical fiction, compelling murder mysteries, or moving family dramas.

Beyond That, the Sea

By Laura Spence-Ash, narrated by Ell Potter. 12 hours and 18 minutes.

In her acclaimed debut Beyond That, the Sea, Laura Spence-Ash unfurls a decades-spanning historical fiction narrative about love, belonging, and the ever-evolving nature of family. Ell Potter narrates the audiobook version, skillfully evoking the different characters and eras with her narrative abilities. The coming-of-age saga begins in 1940 in England, where working-class Londoners Millie and Reginald Thompson decide to send their young daughter, Beatrix, to America to keep her safe during World War II. At first, Bea is hurt by the move, but she soon warms up to her wealthy American hosts and relaxes into her new life as a part of their family unit. When the war in Europe ends, however, Bea is summoned to Britain, drawing her back to a “home” that no longer feels like home and propelling her on a lifelong quest to find her true place in the world.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

The Connellys of County Down

By Tracey Lange, narrated by Barrie Kreinik. 9 hours and 21 minutes.

Tracey Lange, the bestselling author of We Are the Brennans, returned this year with The Connellys of County Down, delivering a heartwarming narrative about second chances and fierce family loyalty. The talented Barrie Kreinik narrates the audiobook version and does an excellent job of capturing the heartache and joy of this charming family drama. Thirty-year-old Tara Connelly is fresh out of prison and ready to get her life back on track. She moves in with her brother and sister to get things moving, but unfortunately, Tara’s siblings have plenty of their own issues to sort out. Nevertheless, Tara remains determined to put the pieces back together — and maybe even find a fresh chance at love. But when the Connellys’ shared family secrets finally threaten to spill out, the three siblings must come together at last to face their troubles as a family. 

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

If We're Being Honest

By Cat Shook, narrated by Kathleen McInerney. 11 hours and 8 minutes.

Cat Shook’s 2023 family dramedy If We’re Being Honest is a fresh and spirited narrative that makes for an equally delightful audiobook. Indeed, AudioFile Magazine says “narrator Kathleen McInerney's range is perfect in this touching comedic drama." The story centers on the members of the Williams family, who return to the small town of Eulalia, Georgia, to mourn the passing of their patriarch, Gerry Williams. Each Williams cousin, aunt, and uncle has their own personal drama to address: a recent heartbreak, the return of a high school sweetheart, a brush with fame on a reality dating show. But when a long-hidden secret of the heart comes to light during the funeral, the entire Williams clan must reckon with the disclosure and the family they thought they knew.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

Locust Lane

By Stephen Amidon, narrated by Cassandra Campbell. 11 hours and 26 minutes.

In Locust Lane, Stephen Amidon delivers an expertly crafted murder mystery set in a serene New England suburb where no one can be trusted. Cassandra Campbell narrates the audiobook version, skillfully juggling the many twists and turns of the plot and not giving anything away until the shocking final reveal. Emerson, Massachusetts, is the type of high-status community where nothing bad ever happens — until young Eden Perry is found dead in the nicest part of town. In the wake of Eden’s shocking demise, the three teens who were with Eden on her last night alive become the prime suspects. As the investigation deepens, the parents of the teenagers close ranks. They’ll do whatever it takes to protect their own, even if it means ensuring that someone else takes the fall.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

The Angel Maker

By Alex North, narrated by Rosalie Craig. 8 hours and 1 minute.

Alex North’s The Angel Maker is dark and twisted, just like the bestselling author’s previous thrillers, The Whisper Man and The Shadows. Award-winning actor Rosalie Craig (Netflix’s 1899) narrates the audiobook version, and her singular presence is an ideal fit for North’s haunting tale of entwined perspectives and multiple timelines. Katie Shaw’s life was forever changed on the day a violent stranger brutally attacked her little brother, Christopher. Years later, she still struggles with guilt and anger. When she receives a call that Chris has vanished, she races to save her sibling from danger. Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page investigates the perplexing murder of a professor of fate and free will. The deeper the detective looks into the slaying, the more it points back to two seemingly unrelated cases: the violent attack on young Christopher Shaw and the crimes of a serial killer rumored to see into the future.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

The Woman Inside

By M. T. Edvardsson, narrated by Josh Dylan, Nathalie Buscombe, and Sofia Engstrand. 10 hours and 45 minutes.

We love the audiobook version of M. T. Edvardsson’s 2023 domestic thriller The Woman Inside. Not only does it include a bonus message read by the author but it also boasts a multi-cast narration that brings each character in this swirling, suspenseful tale to vivid life. In the wake of his wife’s unexpected death, Bill struggles to pay his bills and care for his little girl. He takes in a lodger to make ends meet. Enter Karla, an aspiring judge who moonlights as a house cleaner to cover her college costs. Karla’s clients are the Rytters, a wealthy and secretive couple whose lives are just too good to be true. When the Rytters wind up dead, Karla is called in for questioning, unearthing long-buried secrets that turn everything on its head.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

Chain-Gang All-Stars

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, narrated by Shayna Small, Aaron Goodson, Michael Crouch, and Lee Osorio. 13 hours and 39 minutes.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s 2023 debut, Chain Gang All-Stars, was one of the smash hits of the year, and its audiobook edition — which also boasts a multi-cast narration — is not to be missed. The brilliantly imagined narrative draws you into a dystopian near-future where the for-profit prison industry has turned incarceration into entertainment. Prisoners compete in life-or-death matches in arenas packed with fans, battling for the chance at freedom. Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are teammates, lovers, and two of the games’ biggest stars. As they fight for their survival and their humanity, they must reckon with the fraught realities of freedom in a society built on mass incarceration and abuse. 

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

The Covenant of Water

By Abraham Verghese, narrated by the author. 31 hours and 16 minutes.

When Cutting for Stone author Abraham Verghese returned this year with The Covenant of Water, he delighted plenty of readers — including Oprah Winfrey, who included the sweeping family saga in her book club picks of 2023 and discussed the new novel in a six-part podcast series. The acclaimed narrative is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and spans the decades as it follows three generations of a family from 1900 to 1977. At the center of the narrative is a young girl fated to become the family’s matriarch, who must face a lifetime of joy, loss, and heartbreak on her path to fulfilling her destiny. Verghese narrates the audiobook version of The Covenant of Water, making it a remarkable listen that’s well worth seeking out.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

Weyward

By Emilia Hart, narrated by Aysha Kala, Helen Keeley, and Nell Barlow. 10 hours and 51 minutes.

In her 2023 bestselling debut Weyward, Emilia Hart conjures a mesmerizing tale about witchcraft and female resistance through the ages. The spellbinding narrative spans five centuries to tell its story of three women linked together by their enchanted connection to the natural world. Aysha Kala, Helen Keeley, and Nell Barlow narrate the audiobook version of Hart’s bewitching narrative. Library Journal hails the three narrators as a “magical, moving trio. Their emotional and expressive performance of the parallel narratives ranges from touching and timid to tense and twisting.”

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

Let Us Descend

By Jesmyn Ward, narrated by the author. 8 hours and 12 minutes.

Though it just came out this October, Jesmyn Ward’s latest, Let Us Descend, has generated major waves in the book world. An instant New York Times bestseller and an Oprah Book Club pick, it’s been shortlisted for the 2024 Carnegie Medal for Excellence and earned rave reviews from The Washington Post, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, and more. If that weren’t enough, Jesmyn Ward narrates the audiobook version of her new novel, which is an all-too-rare treat when it comes to fiction. Drawing its inspiration from Dante’s Inferno and blending American history with magical realism, Let Us Descend follows Annis, an enslaved girl sold by the white enslaver who fathered her, as she braves the brutalities of the American South in the years before the Civil War. Fans of Ward’s work, especially her majestic Sing, Unburied, Sing, will disappear entirely into this powerful narrative, which is “searing and lyrical...raw, transcendent, and ultimately hopeful” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

Lady Tan's Circle of Women

By Lisa See, narrated by Jennifer Lim and Justin Chien. 13 hours and 15 minutes.

Lisa See’s deeply researched saga Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is inspired by the remarkable real-life story of Tan Yunxian, a Ming dynasty woman physician in 15th-century China. Jennifer Lim and Justin Chien narrate the audiobook version of this historical fiction narrative, and the pair excel at capturing the novel’s grandeur and sweeping emotionality. Yunxian is born into a wealthy family, but in the wake of a tragedy, she’s raised by her grandparents to be a woman of service. Much like her grandmother — one of only a few female physicians in all of China — Yunxian is trained in Chinese medicine and the Four Examinations. As she comes of age, she befriends a young midwife-in-training named Meiling, but their friendship is tested when Yunxian’s family arranges for her to marry a man whose mother forbids Yunxian from seeing Meiling or practicing medicine. 

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

None of This Is True

By Lisa Jewel, narrated by Kristin Atherton, Ayesha Antoine, Louise Brealey, Alix Dunmore, Elliot Fitzpatrick, Thomas Judd, Dominic Thorburn, Nicola Walker, and Jenny Walser. 10 hours and 20 minutes.

What could be better than a riveting new psychological thriller by bestselling author Lisa Jewell? How about the audiobook version of Jewel’s psychological thriller, which boasts an immersive multi-cast narration and stunning music and sound design. None of This Is True kept us locked in place the moment we pressed play. The narrative centers on Alix Summer, a popular podcaster who’s drawn into the dangerous world of a stranger named Josie Fair — and eventually becomes the subject of her own true crime podcast. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, this thrilling narrative is packed with twists and turns. Its exceptional audio production makes for “a riveting and cinematic listen” (AudioFile Magazine).

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

Murder Your Employer

By Rupert Holmes, narrated by Neil Patrick Harris and Simon Vance. 14 hours and 13 minutes.

Murder Your Employer by Edgar Award–winning author Rupert Holmes is a wickedly entertaining thriller and one of our absolute favorite fiction audiobooks of 2023. You’re sure to get a thrill listening to this “fiendishly funny” tale (Booklist). The narrative invites you into the McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, a highly secretive academy where students are taught to — what else? — commit the perfect murder. To get into the school, applicants must prove that the world would be a better place if their target ceased to be. As for one’s graduating thesis, well, that part is easy: You simply have to take out your intended mark — and survive your time on a campus crawling with aspiring murderers. The audiobook edition of this fun and campy tale is narrated by two men: multiple Audie Award–winning Simon Vance and the iconic Neil Patrick Harris.

Listen on Audible and Libro.fm

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