It’s safe to say Reese Witherspoon knows a thing or two about strong female characters. Over the past two decades, the actress has portrayed a diverse range of women — from Harvard-bound Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” to Madeline Martha Mackenzie in “Big Little Lies.”
Now, she shares her love for storytelling through a book club called Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine on Audible. (Hello Sunshine is the media company founded by Reese Witherspoon to celebrate women and amplify their voices.) For this venture, Witherspoon picks must-read, unique stories by and about complex women.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we teamed up with Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine on Audible to share five empowering books from Witherspoon’s list that are brought to life through powerful audio performances.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Delia Owens’ debut novel, Where the Crawdads Sing
, is a haunting coming-of-age story with equal parts romance and mystery. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina, the story revolves around a young heroine named Kya. Abandoned by her family as a child, she becomes self-sufficient, using nature for survival. After the death of a boy in her town, the young outsider finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Kya relies on her determination and strength to get her out of this unthinkable situation. Owens’ heartbreaking novel only gets better through narrator Cassandra Campbell’s storytelling and impressive range of Carolina accents that bring the characters to life.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
There’s a reason that Celeste Ng’s second novel, Little Fires Everywhere,
is a New York Times best-seller. The riveting story, set in a small town in Ohio, is a page-turner. Life for the wealthy Richardson family changes when the mysterious Mia Warren and her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move into their rental property. The families are immediately drawn together by their differences, but with a new turn of events, Mia and Mrs. Richardson find themselves at odds — eventually driving them and their town apart. Performed by Jennifer Lim, this compelling tale explores identity and secrets in this seemingly perfect town, while shining light on the complexity of race relations in America.
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
If you watched “Downton Abbey,” then you’re familiar with the talented Catherine Steadman. The actress appeared as Mabel Lane Fox in the hit show, before penning her debut novel, Something In The Water
. This psychological thriller has a powerful female character at the forefront, and is performed by the author herself. In this chilling story, a newlywed couple make a troubling discovery while scuba diving on their honeymoon in Bora Bora. What they do with their discovery will change their lives forever. Steadman brings her theatrical expertise to this audio performance that will have listeners hanging on every word.
Braving The Wilderness by Brené Brown
Author Brené Brown is the type of writer whose work will really make you think. The research professor and social scientist might
even change your life with her invaluable lessons on complex topics such as courage, shame, empathy and vulnerability. In Braving The Wilderness
, Brown, through her warm southern drawl, offers advice on how to build connections, bravely stand alone and gain a sense of belonging. Her teachings are meant to help readers through the current “spiritual crisis of disconnection.” She believes this disconnection is taking us away from ourselves and those around us, but through her voice she guides us back.
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
is a great book for anyone who loves a good rom-com. The story starts with an over-the-top proposal at Dodger Stadium in front of 45,000 fans. When the main character, Nikole Paterson, says “no” when her boyfriend pops the question, a stranger named Carlos whisks her away from the cameras and the disappointed onlookers, only to pull Paterson into a new accidental romance. Performed by voice actor Janina Edwards, this fun feminist audiobook by Jasmine Guillory has a diverse cast of characters who offer a refreshing take on the traditional meet-cute.Words by Erica Euse; Illustrations by Rainie Kaplan
Throughout Women’s History Month, Audible will be celebrating women and the power of their words. With audiobooks, you can bring the books to life wherever you are, whether you’re listening during your commute or your workout. Audible’s selection of audiobooks is full of extraordinary stories written by authors around the world that will inspire you all year round. Anyone can check out the full Audible library by signing up for a 30-day trial — which includes the first audiobook for free — here.
This article was paid for by Audible and co-created by RYOT Studio. HuffPost editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.