The King’s (and Queen’s!) Speech: A Majesty of Narrators!

If you’re a fan of British royal family-themed fiction, then almost certainly you’re a fan of two things: The Crown on Netflix, and Philippa Gregory. Out now is a new audio version of The Queen’s Fool, narrated by Yolanda Kettle, which follows The Other Boleyn Girl, narrated by Vanessa Kirby. Both Kettle and Kirby have been *spoiler alert* recent love rivals in The Crown, which got us to thinking, which other books have been narrated by The Crown stars? Let’s take a look!

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Yolanda Kettle

Philippa Gregory does it again!

Hannah Green is a young girl who is placed in the Tudor court as a holy fool to Mary I. Hannah, who has many of her own secrets, ends up trapped between the Catholic Queen and Elizabeth, her Protestant sister. She must choose between living a safe life of a commoner or risking everything for the fame and fortune of the court.

Yolanda Kettle’s narration really brings Hannah’s character to life. She has a very youthful voice, which is very apt for the characters in this novel.

Publisher’s Summary:

Winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee with her father from their home in Spain. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee; she has the gift of “Sight,” the ability to foresee the future, priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up with her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen’s Fool is a rich and emotionally resonant gem from a masterful storyteller.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Secretary by Renee Knight, narrated by Victoria Hamilton

Christine Butcher is a devoted and loyal secretary to Mina Appleton. She listens, watches, and is privy to secrets that she always keeps safe…

But those years of discretion come at a high price—which Christine discovers at her peril.

Victoria Hamilton’s (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) narration is perfect for this novel. Her calm voice adds an eerie and suspenseful tone to this thriller.

Publisher’s Summary:

From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her. Absolute loyalty. Absolute discretion. For twenty years, Christine has been a most devoted servant, a silent witness to everything in Mina’s life. So quiet, you would hardly know she is there.

Day after day, year after year, Christine has been there, invisible—watching, listening, absorbing all the secrets floating around her. Keeping them safe.
Christine is trusted. But those years of loyalty and discretion come with a high price. And eventually Christine will pay.

Yet, it would be a mistake to underestimate such a steadfast woman. Because as everyone is about to discover, there’s a dangerous line between obedience and obsession.

Read more and sample the audio →

Drama: An Actor’s Education by John Lithgow, narrated by John Lithgow

John Lithgow’s (Winston Churchill) memoir, which he narrates himself, is an absolute treat. He talks in depth about his life, his family, and his career, which has spanned decades and various genres. His stories about his parents are poignant and touching.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I love listening to authors narrating their own memoirs, since it adds real depth to the story being told. And of course, an actor with such gravitas as Lithgow brings much richness to the narration.

Publisher’s Summary:

Emmy Award-winner John Lithgow presents a charming, witty, and revealing memoir about his family, his work, and his life in Drama—an intimate story of insights and inspirational reflections from one of America’s most beloved actors. Lithgow pays tribute to his father, his greatest influence, and relives his collaborations with renowned performers and directors including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Liv Ullmann, Meryl Streep, and Brian De Palma. A compelling reflection on the trials, triumphs, and changes across his long career, Lithgow’s Drama illuminates the inner life of a celebrated talent, and points the way forward for anyone aspiring to greatness in their own life.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Vanessa Kirby

When Mary Boleyn comes to court, she falls in love with Henry VIII. However, she’s forced to step aside for her sister, Anne, when the King’s attention for Mary starts to wain.

As Mary realizes her family’s ambition is overriding her own needs and wants, she decides not to take it lying down…

Vanessa Kirby’s (Princess Margaret) regal narration style is so appropriate for this historical listen. The determination and strength of Mary’s character really come through in her reading.

Publisher’s Summary:

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

With more than one million copies in print and adapted for the big screen, The Other Boleyn Girl is a riveting historical drama. It brings to light a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe, and survived a treacherous political landscape by following her heart.

Read more and sample the audio →

Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel by Anthony Horowitz, narrated by Matthew Goode

Anthony Horowitz, a famous and talented writer in his own right, has taken on the character of James Bond to create an amazing origin story, with all of the excitement, intrigue, and passion that we all expect from the world’s favorite spy.

Matthew Goode (Lord Snowdon) is every inch the right narrator for this book, bringing the suaveness needed for the James Bond character.

Publisher Summary

A spy is dead. A legend is born. This is how it all began. The explosive prequel to Casino Royale, from bestselling author Anthony Horowitz.

Forever and a Day is the story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera, taking readers into the very beginning of James Bond’s illustrious career and the formation of his identity.

***

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. “We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.”

“‘It’s Bond, sir,’” the Chief of Staff replied. “James Bond.”

The sea keeps its secrets. But not this time. 

One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. 

It’s time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organized crime. 

It’s time for James Bond to earn his license to kill.

Read more and sample the audio →

Pet Sematary by Stephen King, narrated by Michael C. Hall

If you had to pick an author who really symbolizes everything great about the horror genre, most of us would pick Stephen King.

Pet Sematary is a horror classic, centered around the character Louis Creed, who moves his family to a lovely small town that seems too good to be true.

Michael C. Hall (John F. Kennedy) is very compelling and right on the money as narrator for this book. With his background in thrillers in TV shows like Dexter, he brings a great presence to this listen.

Publisher’s Summary:

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job, and moves his family to the idyllic, rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Yet despite Ludlow’s tranquility, there’s an undercurrent of danger that lingers…like the graveyard in the woods near the Creed’s home, where generations of children have buried their beloved pets.

Behind the “pet sematary,” there is another burial ground, one that lures people to it with seductive promises…and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. An ominous fate befalls anyone who dares tamper with this forbidden place, as Louis is about to discover for himself…

Read more and sample the audio →

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