20 Best Audiobooks For A Road Trip in 2019
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I don't know about you, but I love going on road trips and listening to audiobooks.
A road trip feels like a true adventure — much more so than air travel, which involves so many tiresome steps before you even set foot on the plane.
There's something about having the car packed, getting up early, and heading out on the open road that makes me feel giddy with excitement, just like I felt when I was a kid.
Behind the wheel, you're in control of your destiny (and destination) in a way you can't enjoy with other forms of travel.
A road trip is a great bonding experience for you and your significant other or family members. You have time for deep talks, lots of laughter, and shared discovery.
For me, the smaller, off-the-beaten-path highways are preferable (rather than the interstate) even if it takes a bit longer. I'm drawn to the changing landscapes, the small towns, the farms, and quaint roadside stores.
Sometimes, though, there's no escaping the interstate or long stretches on a lonely highway. You're forced to take a route that offers little variety in scenery and nothing much to look at.
This is the time when you'll be grateful you brought along an audiobook or two.
I love reading books on road trips, but reading a book is a solitary experience. You can't share it with your fellow travelers. If you're the driver, or if reading makes you car sick, audiobooks can make those long stretches of highway much more interesting.
Do you have a road trip planned in 2019?
Why not take along some great audiobooks for your next excursion?
Here are 20 of the best audiobooks for road trips in 2019:
Best Fiction Audiobooks
The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Flynn
This psychological thriller is one of the best I've read recently. It has elements of Hitchcock's “Rear Window,” as well as the bestseller, The Girl on the Train.
Anna Fox has agoraphobia and spends her time drinking too much, watching old movies (that tend to reflect what's happening in her small world) and looking out the window at her neighbors. The new family across the street has piqued her interest, especially when she thinks she witnesses a murder in their house.
As the book progresses, nothing is as it seems and even Anna, a former psychologist, doubts her own memories and actions, as those around her try to make her think she's crazy. There are horrors and surprises buried in the many layers of this page-turning story.
The Storyteller's Secret, by Sejal Badani
From the bestselling author of The Trail of Broken Wings, The Storyteller's Secret is the story of two women, Jaya and the grandmother she never met, Amisha.
After a series of miscarriages and a failing marriage, Jaya travels to India to learn about her distant and secretive mother's past. There she meets the keeper of her family's secrets, Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the struggles, resilience, secret love, and tragic ending of Jaya’s remarkable grandmother during the British occupation.
Switching between the past and present, Bandani reveals the inner worlds of all of the characters and how the love, pain, and secrets within a family reverberate through generations.
The Ragged Edge of Night, by Olivia Hawker
If you're a fan of All the Light We Cannot See or The Nightingale, you will be gripped by this beautifully written historical novel about one man’s search for redemption and love during the darkest times of World War II in Germany, 1942.
Anton Starzmann was a Franciscan friar who is stripped of everything he knows and loves when his school is seized by the Nazis who unleash horror on those in Anton's care.
After a forced stint as a German soldier, Anton moves to a small German town to marry Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage of convenience to a man who can help raise her three children. By accepting Elisabeth's offer, Anton finds atonement for failing to protect his former students from the cruelties of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expect their lives to be shaken once again — both by Anton's secret acts of defiance and their unexpected love for one another.
Another great thriller with a completely unexpected twist. According to Amazon reviews: “David Beck has rebuilt his life since his wife's murder eight years ago, finishing medical school and establishing himself as a pediatrician, but he's never forgotten the woman he fell in love with in second grade.
And when a mysterious e-mail arrives on the anniversary of their first kiss, with a message and an image that leads him to wonder whether Elizabeth might still be alive, Beck will stop at nothing to find the truth that's eluded him for so many years.
A powerful billionaire is equally determined to make sure his role in her disappearance never comes to light, even if it means destroying an innocent man.” Says one review, “The ending of this book had me GOBSMACKED. It was amazing.”
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Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan
If you're looking for some humor on your road trip, check out this outrageously funny debut novel (and now a movie) about three mega-wealthy, elite Chinese families. Cattiness, backbiting, and scheming boil over when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home Rachel, his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend, to the wedding of the season.
The materialism, obscene wealth, status, and expectation that Rachel encounters there is staggering, as she comes from an ordinary single-mother upbringing in the States.
The colorful characters and the descriptions of their unimaginably wealthy lifestyles will keep you entertained for hours on the road.
Oh my, this is one of the most surprising, scary, and compelling books I've read in a long time. You'll want to keep driving so you can listen to it all in one sitting. It's a post-apocalyptic story dealing with a strange something “out there” that can't be seen.
Those who see it commit horrible acts and ultimately kill themselves. The story follows a small group of survivors who hole up in a house with all the windows covered. They never venture outside unless blindfolded. To raise the tension, the novel weaves together two stories of the protagonist, Malorie, shifting between the past and the present. In the present, she's trying to escape with two four-year-olds (all blindfolded) on a river to a possible safe house.
Her reflections on the past reveal how she survived the world going mad and killing itself.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
In this evocative debut novel, Owens tells the story of Kya Clark, a young woman growing up virtually alone in the wild marshes outside a small coastal community in North Carolina. She becomes known as the “Marsh Girl.”
In 1969, local womanizer Chase Andrews is discovered dead, and Kya, a sensitive and intelligent woman of 23, is suspected of killing him. As local law enforcement work to gather evidence against her, the narrative flashes back to 1952 to unravel Kya’s story of abandonment, abuse, and love.
The novels culminates in a long trial as Kya awaits her fate and the trajectory of her future. The author beautifully depicts the small-town setting and courtroom drama in this heartbreaking coming-of-age story.
This book gripped me from the very beginning. It's a great story to discuss during a long road trip. It's set at the end of World War II, in an old Bavarian castle where at one time German high society gathered for parties.
After the war, three widows come to live in the castle, and their lives and fates become intertwined as they cope with the aftershocks of the war and the implications of their husbands' plot to murder Adolf Hilter.
Marianne, the former resident of the castle whose husband was one of the resisters, tries to keep the promise she made to find and protect the wives of her husband's co-conspirators.
A heart-pounding psychological thriller that is both literary and horrifying, Descent is about a family vacation that turns tragic when 18-year-old Caitlan is kidnapped in the Rocky Mountains while cycling with her brother Sean.
Sean returns badly injured, but the family and police can't find Caitlan. As the search goes on for months, the impact on Caitlan's family has devastating consequences on their psyches and their relationship.
Says the Miami Herald, “What makes the novel unforgettable is its sense of character, its deliberate, unadorned prose and Johnston’s unflinching exploration of human endurance, physical and psychological.” A must-read (or listen) for your road trip.
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in a fascinating era of Russian history with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. In 1922, a Bolshevik tribunal deems him an unrepentant aristocrat and sentences him to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin.
Rostov is a man of erudition and wit, who has never worked a day in his life. Now he's required to live in an attic room, as decades of Russian history (1922 through 1954) are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. His new and unexpected circumstances provide him relationships and opportunities that open a doorway to a larger world of emotional discovery. Interesting and relevant in light of all of the current Russian intrigue. Amazing characters and beautifully written.
What She Knew, by Gilly Macmillan
What would you do if you were walking through the woods one day with your young son, and you allow him to run ahead a short distance, only to discover he has completely vanished? What if you suddenly became the prime suspect?
That's what happens to Rachel Jenner who experiences every parent's nightmare when she is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben. As days pass without any sign of Ben, Rachel begins to come undone as sympathy for her turns to suspicion, especially with her ex-husband.
As she tries to put together the clues, she realizes that the danger may not be with a terrifying stranger but with the people familiar to her. Ultimately everyone surrounding Ben becomes suspect, and trust issues abound. A real nail-biter until the end.
Could it be the perfect murder? A young woman is discovered in Manhattan hotel, face down in a bathtub of acid, teeth removed, fingerprints and face gone. There are no fingerprints or DNA at the murder scene.
Ben Bradley, the homicide detective in charge, is a long time friend of a retired CIA operative called Pilgram who has written the definitive textbook on criminal investigations, and it appears the murderer has read the book. Pilgrim is drawn out of retirement by Bradley and is quickly in the middle of an international manhunt moving through the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. This is more than just a murder mystery; there is also a biological threat against the U.S., which ties into the murder.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, by Anthony Marra
If you enjoyed The Kite Runner, you will love this book. It is about the plight of Chechnians under the brutal occupation of Russia, but don't allow this serious topic to throw you off. It's the story of eight-year-old Havaa who watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across from Havaa's house, their lifelong neighbor and friend Akhmed watches too, afraid Havaa is dead when the soldiers set fire to her house.
But he finds her hiding in the forest and makes a decision that will forever change their lives when he seeks refuge at the abandoned hospital where the last remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, takes them in. Their lives and unexpected fates reveal the transcendent power of love in wartime.
If you enjoy mysteries that involve the supernatural, don't miss this one. Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is visited by people others can't see and haunted by prophetic dreams.
She's terrified by the things that happen to her, so she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York. Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation of a local missing girl. Working together, they uncover a terrible crime and discover that The Hollows holds more terrifying secrets than they ever imagined.
Says the Associated Press, “Strong characters and stellar writing make this a wonderful mix of small-town life with the supernatural.”
The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena
The Couple Next Door is a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that examines the blind terror a couple (Anne and Marco) in upstate New York experience when they come home from a dinner party next door to discover their beloved daughter, Cora, is missing and not in her crib.
Suspicion immediately intensifies on the parents, but the truth is much more complicated and convoluted.
An unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds, as the lead detective knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon learn that the other is keeping long-held secrets that lead to a nerve-racking unraveling of a family and a shocking twist of an ending that may make you miss your exit!
Ove is an unpleasant curmudgeon, but don't let this stop you from listening to this heartwarming, humorous story of a man who hides a sad past behind his gruff exterior.
When one morning a chatty couple with young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it leads to an unexpected friendship. You learn that Ove hides a warm and at times a courageous heart beneath his grumpiness. Says one reviewer, “A charming and heartwarming story filled with moments that'll make you laugh and moments that'll bring you nearly to tears.”
If you want to hear a great story with funny, tender, and lovable characters, this is the audiobook to travel with you.
Based on a true story, Beneath A Scarlet Sky is the story of Pino Lello, a young Italian man, and his courage and resilience during WWII. When his family's home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad to help Jews escape over the Alps, and he falls in love with a beautiful widow, Anna.
Trying to protect Pino, his parents force him to enlist as a German soldier, thinking it will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler's left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers. He uses his new position as a chance to spy for the Allies, drawing on his love for Anna and his dream they will be together one day to bolster his courage.
Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors, and this book is so good, HBO made a blockbuster TV series based on it. Set in an Australian suburb, Big Little Lies focuses on three women, who all have children at the same preschool.
One is a great beauty married to a wealthy businessman; they have a “perfect” set of twins. One is the do-it-all mom who can organize anything but feels stung when her teenage daughter prefers to live with her divorced dad and cool stepmom.
The third is a new-to-town, single mother who doesn’t quite fit in. From the very beginning, you learn that someone is going to end up dead. The question is who and how these women fit in the picture.
You will love these all-too-real, funny, touching characters and the way their seemingly normal suburban life begins to unravel.
This is one of the most important and powerful books Jodi Picoult has ever written, given the state of race relations in our country. It's based on the true story of a labor and delivery nurse who was prohibited from caring for a newborn because the father requested that no African-American nurses tend to his baby.
In Picoult's story, Ruth, the African-American nurse in question, finds herself on trial for events related to the same request made by a white supremacist father. Using the narratives of Ruth, the baby’s father, and the female public defender who takes Ruth’s case, Picoult examines multiple facets of racism.
You'll be discussing this powerhouse story for the entirety of your road trip.
If you love historical fiction, you will get lost in this enthralling and beautiful story of a Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. It shifts between 1914 Russia when the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future and 2016 when the young journalist, Kitty, has just learned of her husband's infidelity, causing her to leave for a remote cabin which she inherited from a great-grandfather she barely heard of.
This escape leads Kitty to unravel a mystery about the Romanovs and one of the daughters of Tsar Nicholas, Grand Duchess Tatiana, who served as a nurse and falls in love with one of the injured soldiers, Dimitri. Well-researched, compelling, and addictive.
If you didn't find what you're looking for in my list, check out Amazon's Audible and get two free audiobooks.
Whether you're hitting the road for a long car trip, or you just need something to listen to while working out or taking a walk, audiobooks can transport you on a mental road trip that ignites your imagination. Don't leave home without one!