Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan

“Of course there should be an HEA. I’m so sick of this question. It’s a Romance! That’s the deal we make with our readers. It’s misogyny, plain and simple. You don’t see anyone telling Mystery readers they’re silly and unserious for wanting to know by the end of the book who the murderer was. Fuck off.
–June French in Cosmopolitan”
― Julia Whelan, Thank You for Listening

Julia Whelan is one of my favorite audiobook narrators with over 450 audiobook narrations under her belt (she’s probably much closer to 500 by the time of this posting). She is also an author! In 2018, Whelan debuted My Oxford Year and then followed up with Thank You for Listening in August 2022. Her latest book, Thank You for Listening, caught my interest as soon as I read the premise: an audiobook narrator has a one-night stand in Vegas with a stranger and then embarks upon recording a romance novel by a late author who picked her specifically for the project.

Sewanee Chester never thought she would end up being an audiobook narrator, but after a disastrous accident ended her career as an actress, she somehow found herself narrating. Sewanee found satisfaction working in a sound booth. This job also allows her time to care for her grandmother who is ailing. When her boss falls ill, Sewanee flies to Las Vegas to fill in for him at a book convention where she meets a charming stranger and spends a dizzying night with him.

Once back home, Sewanee learns that a late beloved romance novelist wanted her to perform her last book alongside another audiobook narrator, Brock McNight, considered the industry’s hottest voice. He is also incredibly secretive – no one knows who Brock McNight really is. While Sewanee doesn’t necessarily believe in what romance novels are selling, she owes her audiobook career to her initial success as an audiobook narrator. After much debate, Sewanee decides to take on this project.

The more Sewanee and Brock work on the book, the closer they become. Granted they are hiding behind anonymity as both are operating under their pseudonyms. They make a real connection. The longer they work together, Sewanee finds herself dreaming and hoping again. Reality crashes down yet again when secrets are revealed, leaving Sewanee and Brock left standing unsure in their truths. The two must take their own journeys of acceptance as they work together.

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