I’ve always loved audiobooks but in 2020, I listened to more books than I read for the first time. And, the field of narrators became extremely competitive, providing listeners with highly skilled and talented performers. They often bring great stories to life and can make an “okay” story really good. Here’s my list of those narrators who made my ears happy this year!
1. Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Potter narrates the Detective D. D. Warren series and I used a few Audible credits just so I could listen to her performance. She made such a difference in my reading experience with the series, especially her voice for D. D. She also is one of the narrators of The Sun Down Motel and proved she’s not a one series wonder
2. Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt
Schnaubelt narrated the Mercy Kilpatrick series, which I devoured. Her performances were brilliant.
3. Narrator: January LaVoy
LaVoy is one of my top five narrators and this particular story was heaven sent to her as she voiced the main character who was a…voice actress! She was perfection, as usual.
4. Narrator: Derek Perkins
Back again for the second year as Perkins narrates the Victorian Rebels series, which I finished up this year. He’s so consistent, vividly bringing these fascinating characters to life. Best decision I could make in choosing to listen to the entire series.
5. Narrator: Megan Hilty
Hilty is a new-to-me narrator who I’m hoping to listen to again as she made this really interesting story even more outstanding. She became the character and created the most vivid image of her in my mind. Absolutely outstanding performance.
6. Narrator: Julia Whelan
My list would be incomplete without including Whelan. I’m a fan from years back and this year she delivered her typical great performance in one of my most favorite books of the year.
7. Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Ericksen is best known for narrating the In Death series but since I read the books, I haven’t experienced that pleasure. I was excited when I learned she narrated this story and now I know what all the fuss is about. She was SO good, delivering a 5-star performance with one scene done so well I still recall it vividly. Ericksen lived up to the hype.
8. Narrator: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Sometimes a narrator can make or break a book and this is one occasion where she turned a difficult story into one that was much easier to consume and absorb. And, not every well known actor can automatically translate their skills to voice but Gyllenhaal certainly did. My opinion of this story was definitely shaped by her performance.
9. Narrator: Jan Cramer
I’ve made no secret of my new love for the DI Kim Stone series. A lot of that love stems not only from the great stories but the woman delivering them. I decided to try the prequel on audio and was blown away. So goes many of my stored up Audible credits! Cramer inhabits the story and characters, making you see and feel everything. I’ll be listening to the entire series.
10. Narrator: Kathleen Early
Early is a repeat to this list and I’ll just repeat what I said last year. I’ve listened to all but one of the books in this series and they’ve all been narrated by Early. But, this was just on another level. If you’re planning to read this series, try the audio versions. You’ll thank me for it.
11. Narrator: Eric Jason Martin
This was a tricky story as fables often are. The writing is brilliant and Martin’s instincts in his performance were dead on. His subtle delivery allowed the powerful messages to emerge unfettered.
12. Narrators: Alana Kerr Collins & John Keating
This is a tricky story that both of these narrators navigated expertly. They made me believe their characters, which also meant they made them unreliable. This was my first time listening to either of them and they’re both going on my “want to hear more from” list.