On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her.
As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.
If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
I’m just going to start off this review by sharing exactly what you need to know: Julia Whelan’s sophomore contemporary romance, Thank You for Listening, is an absolute must read book for 2022 and beyond!!
I read Julia Whelan’s debut, My Oxford Year, last year, loosely inspired on her own experience at Oxford. I liked that the book had contemporary romance tropes and an ending that didn’t exactly follow those tropes. I’m happy that Thank You for Listening takes a similar route, taking so many tropes from a contemporary romance and spinning them on their heads, also in part to the book’s synopsis.
Sewanee is a very successful audiobook narrator, having had her start in romance books…even though she doesn’t really believe in happily-ever-afters, as she shares at a Las Vegas book convention & with the one-night stand she meets there. When she returns home from the trip, after a beloved romance author passes away, one of the author’s final requests was that Sewanee partner with a male audiobook narrator to narrate one of her final works. Sewanne goes back to her pseudonym and works with one of the leading male romance narrators in the audiobook game, Brock McKnight, and as the two collaborate with each other via email and text messages, they soon discover they have a lot more in common than they might’ve thought….
Thank You for Listening is a masterclass in contemporary romance. I love, LOVED the relationship Sewanee has with Brock and how their story unravels and crossovers throughout. Their dialogue and (sometimes dry) humor is exactly what I love between two love interests. The book also has so many layers outside of the romance, such as an accident that has affected Sewanee physically and mentally years prior, along with the end of her acting career. Sewanee’s best friend is a fellow actress, whose career has only skyrocketed since Sewanee’s tragedy, & Sewanee must grapple with feeling like she’s lost her dream career and being a supportive friend. Family is also a huge part of the book, as Sewanee is very close with her grandmother who has memory problems and has must deal with her complex relationship with her father in helping her grandmother. I know that I might often compliment books for being well-balanced, but Thank You for Listening is seriously one of the best books for being able to equally balance the contemporary & romance sides of the story.
Readers & bibliophiles will also love the book’s audiobook premise, as Sewanee reveals some of the inner-workings of the audiobook industry – Julia Whelan does include her author’s excerpt at the end of the novel that the book represents one character or side’s experience in audiobooks, not all. There’s also great commentary on romance and how romance books are treated vs. other genres.
Overall, Thank You for Listening is one of my FAVORITE books of 2022, and I hope that more & more readers read or listen to it – the audiobook is also narrated by Julia Whelan!
Have you read Thank You for Listening? Is it on your TBR? Have you read My Oxford Year or listened to any audiobooks narrated by Julia Whelan? Share in the comments!