From Cozy to Spooky: 20 Audiobooks Perfect for Your Fall Playlist

Every season is perfect for listening to a great book, but the changing of the leaves and the crisp air of autumn make disappearing into a story even more enjoyable. A cup of tea, a blanket, and the voice of an exceptional narrator create an ambience that will make a good story stick with you for years.

This curated list of fall audiobooks is just right for the ‘ber months, catering to a wide range of tastes. Whether you’re in the mood for a cozy listen by the fireplace or a gripping mystery that leaves you guessing, we’ve got you covered. There are options for everyone, and at least a few are destined to make it onto your personal favorites list.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

College campuses exude fall energy, and Donna Tartt’s dark story about a group of teenagers enamored by a professor delivers. Book enthusiasts everywhere re-read this one yearly for the atmospheric angst.

Narrated by a member of the close-knit group, he reflects on the death of a classmate and how the relationships they cultivated led to the events that followed. Mysterious, moody, and perfect with a cup of tea, you will listen to this one deep into the night and walk away satisfied.

Tartt won the Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, but this first novel is the achievement that many refer to when they discuss her work.

Length: 22 hours and 3 minutes

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Who knew a book full of travel, family secrets, and tales of Vlad the Impaler would become my go-to fall listen? The vampire myth is taken to new heights as a daughter follows her father’s path when trying to figure out what family secret led them to where they are now. 

It’s hard to pinpoint the best part of this book: the extensive historical fiction element, the descriptions of Europe’s landscapes and monuments, or the tale Kostova weaves of a family facing an evil that has lurked for centuries. All collide to make an exceptional story.

Length: 26 hours 5 minutes

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

Jenny is the victim of a brutal attack and given a drug that makes her forget the entire experience. The problem is that even though she can’t recall what happened to her, her mental and emotional health are faltering. The body may heal, but the mind can’t process what it can’t recall.

As Jenny seeks help, a small community starts to unravel at the truth that their quiet existence is not what they thought. This listen kept me up all night and is still one I think about regularly. Listen with the lights on, ready to plunge into psychological darkness.

Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I won a copy of Setterfield’s novel when it was first released, and it captured me from the first word. Vida Winter is a reclusive author who is finally ready to tell her story. She chooses Margaret Lea as her biographer, and over the course of time, she reveals her past.

You will hear this story and feel transported into a fairy tale, one for adults who love mysteries, books, and the power of storytelling. Setterfield’s novel kept me guessing until the end, and it’s full of rich characters that are made for meeting on a fall night when the leaves are falling from the trees.

Length: 15 hours and 38 minutes

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Carly Kirk’s aunt worked at the Sun Down Motel in the 1980s, but she disappeared without a trace. Fast forward to 2017, and Carly goes back to the motel to try to learn more about what happened to her Aunt Viv. Unfortunately, she ends up ensnared in the same horrors that took her aunt. 

Creepy, dark, and perfect for cold autumn nights, The Sun Down Motel will keep you guessing until the last word.

Length: 11 hours

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Celia and Marco both perform at the Night Circus, and they also fall madly in love. However, they are competing against each other in a duel where one of them must fall. Everything around them is at stake, and Morgenstern sets their fate against the fantastical spectacle of the circus.

Morgenstern’s work is a joy to hear because it captures you from the first word and refuses to release you until the stunning conclusion.

Length: 13 hours and 40 minutes

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson 

It’s hard to choose what the most horrifying part of this novel is, but the fact that it was based on a true story is definitely high on the list. The Lutz family moves into a house where they know tragedy struck a year before. They decide to try to make the place their own despite the murders that lurk in the shadows.

They leave less than a month later. Anson captures the fear, suspense, and horror and will keep listeners scared and intrigued throughout the book.

Length: 6 hours and 28 minutes

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

If you watched the incredible Netflix adaptation of Jackson’s famous novel, don’t let that discourage you from listening to the audiobook. Though based on the book of the same name, Jackson’s tale is quite different from the one shown on television, though it’s just as creepy.

Four people come to Hill House to see what supernatural gifts it has to offer. They get more than what they asked for when the house refuses to release one of them. Jackson is known for her ability to create tight, horrifying work that stays with listeners because of how deeply psychological it can be. The Haunting of Hill House is no exception.

Length: 7 hours and 27 minutes

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A dark classic I first encountered in high school, Bronte’s tale of forbidden romance between Heathcliff and Catherine is violent, wild, and full of betrayal. Even if you’ve listened to this one before, it’s worth a revisit. Though most of my fellow English majors adored Jane Austen, I have always held a special place in my heart for Bronte because of this passionate novel.

Length: 13 hours and 58 minutes

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

The first novel in Smith’s Child 44 series sounded like a lot to handle: Stalin’s Soviet Union, a serial killer targeting children, and a protagonist who works for a government set on silencing its people. While there is a lot of darkness in this thriller, Smith never handles it in a way that feels excessive. Instead, he offers a suspenseful story packed with details that lands at an ending both natural and unexpected.

You will feel the chill of snow in your bones as you listen to this story, so grab a warm beverage and be prepared to stay up all night.

Length: 12 hours and 24 minutes

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

I did not expect a tale of gentrification to evolve into a horror story, but that is exactly what Alyssa Cole gave me when I heard this book. Sydney seeks to find out why her Brooklyn neighborhood seems to be changing right before her eyes. The veteran residents are leaving, and new people are showing up to take their place at an alarming rate. What she uncovers is more than just a story of gentrification. What if those residents didn’t want to move, and where did they actually go?

Unwillingly partnered with a want-to-be-helpful neighbor, Theo, Sydney seeks the truth and finds much more than she expected. Listen to this one with the lights on.

Length: 8 hours and 55 minutes

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

World War II is just beginning, but Gene and Phineas are tucked into a boarding school in the Northeast. However, that doesn’t protect them from lost innocence and the harrowing consequences of young, rash decisions.

Knowles’ novel gets extra points for its New England setting, school atmosphere, and seasonal writing that allows you to smell the crispness of fall in the air.

6 hours and 8 minutes

Weyward by Emilia Hart

The story of three women in the Weyward family are woven together in this novel that spans centuries. Altha, Violet, and Kate all deal with threats to their safety due to the men surrounding them. Separated by generations but intertwined through a unique connection with nature, they seek to escape the threats around them while trying to learn more about who they are and what powers they possess.

Empowering, emotional, and full of both darkness and light, Wayward has been one of my surprise listens of the season.

Length: 10 hours and 51 minutes

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Like everyone in her community, Immanuelle follows the rules required by her religious, strict settlement. Already under suspicion because of her father’s race, she tries hard to do what is expected of the women. However, the spirits of four murdered witches entice her to find out more about her past and the past of her mother. Now, everything she thought she knew is brought into question, and she has to find her role in changing the community.

Witches, dark forces, and magic woods are the perfect elements for this fall read.

Length: 11 hours and 37 minutes

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

How I made it through high school and college without encountering du Maurier’s tale of Manderley and the unnamed heroine who goes to live there after her marriage is a mystery to me. When our narrator meets and marries a widower, leaving her former life behind, she learns that his previous wife will still be a part of their marriage, even if only in spirit.

Haunting, epic, with evil on all sides, Rebecca is a classic gothic tale that still gives me chills when I think of it. The narration by Anna Massey gives the story the edge and attention it deserves.

Length: 14 hours and 48 minutes

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

This is the perfect choice for anyone who watches Practical Magic each year to usher in fall. Learn about the early life of the two aunts you learn to love in Practical Magic by going back to their childhood and that of their brother Vincent. Different since birth, these three are raised by a mother who tries desperately to keep their unique talents a secret. However, they learn about who they are and where they came from, and they have to figure out what this means for love, identity, and truth in their own lives.

Length: 10 hours and 58 minutes

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Listening to this story was entrancing, and I looked for any excuse possible to turn it on and disappear into this genre-bending world. A young woman makes a deal in the 18th century to ensure she lives forever. However, it means she will be forgotten by everyone who meets her. Alone and immortal, she stumbles through the world. 

Addie finally finds someone who can remember her after 300 years, and they have to figure out why and how this is possible after all this time. Eerie, addictive, and award-winning, Julia Whelan brings this story to life with a voice that perfectly depicts every character.

Length: 17 hours and 10 minutes 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What could be better for fall than a timeless tale of a man and his creation, one that seeks to destroy everything he holds dear? Frankenstein has held up so well because it asks the questions, what makes someone a monster, and what do we owe the creations we bring into this world? 

Dan Stevens narrates this story perfectly, and I remember listening to it while walking around my neighborhood as the leaves changed and fell. Whether or not you’ve heard this classic before, try it again for an atmospheric listen.

Length: 8 hours and 35 minutes

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

I had the pleasure of visiting the actual Sleepy Hollow, New York, and it was incredible to see the graveyard and Irving’s burial place after hearing this story years ago. Ichabod Crane wants to marry Katrina Van Tassel after seeing her in the sleepy Dutch settlement of Sleepy Hollow. He moves there to teach, but he has to compete with Brom Bones for Katrina’s affections.

Add to this story of romantic rivalry the Headless Horseman, a supposed ghost of a soldier from the past who lost his head during the Revolutionary War, and you have a scary story that has lasted for centuries. The Headless Horseman rides each night looking for his head, and you won’t find a better listen for a spooky autumn night.

Length: 1 hour and 17 minutes

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A desperate letter arrives for Noemi from her cousin who has recently married. She goes to High Place, a house in the Mexican countryside that seems to be its own character in the story. Though Noemi is better at attending parties than swooping in to fight dark forces, she uses all the skill she has to try to get her cousin away from the house and the men trying to capture her.

Dark, with hints of madness, Mexican Gothic is a new classic narrated perfectly by Frankie Corzo.

Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes

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