Narrator Spotlight: Cassandra Campbell

A good narrator can make or break an audiobook; I don't think I'm alone when I say I often choose books based on their narrator instead of the author. Cassandra Campbell is a recent favorite of mine - here are three titles narrated by her that I've especially enjoyed.

Eligible

I'm not author Curtis Sittenfeld's only fan at KCLS! Here, she gives us a smart, charming update of Pride and Prejudice set in Cincinnati. As a narrator, Campbell's skill with voices is especially notable and it shines in Eligible. Scenes with four or five Bennett sisters, a couple of Bingleys, and the dry (but so lovable) Mr. Darcy are easy to follow thanks to Campbell's excellent voices, which are distinguishable without being cartoonish. Eligible just came out, so there's a bit of a wait, but I promise it's worth it.

Mermaids in Paradise

While you're waiting for Eligible, try Lydia Millet's Mermaids in Paradise, a darkly hilarious satire about American culture, tourism, corporate greed, and real, live mermaids. Like the plot, the characters are over the top, and Campbell delivers, with memorable voices for everyone from the serious, nerdy marine biologist who first spots the mermaids to a grizzled Navy SEAL to Chip, the protagonist's sweetly earnest, if immature, husband. A good choice for fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

Pretty Baby

When Heidi, a social worker in Chicago, invites homeless teenager Willow and Willow's baby to live at her home, her husband and adolescent daughter are dismayed. Their dismay deepens as Heidi becomes almost obsessed with taking care of Willow and as details emerge about the girl's past and her true identity. Three readers narrate Pretty Baby;  Campbell reads Heidi's sections and highlights her empathy for Willow and the baby, which makes the story's twisty conclusion even more shocking. It's a more understated performance than Eligible or Mermaids in Paradise, but equally compelling. Bonus: narrator Jorjeana Marie, another personal favorite, reads Willow's sections. If you're looking for something like The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, check out Pretty Baby.

Campbell's pretty prolific; these are just a few of the many audiobooks she's narrated, so I know I have many happy hours of listening ahead of me!