“Narrator Lee Ann Howlett deftly introduces the public and private Dolly Parton in this well-researched study of a cultural phenomenon that’s completely American–country music. Howlett’s warm rendering of Parton’s natural wit and considerable intelligence helps explain how she manages to combine the antithetical personas of an innocent mountain girl and a voluptuous sex symbol. In a conversational style, Howlett details country music history and Parton’s unforgettable entry into the male-dominated industry. Lyrics, personal stories, and priceless Dollyisms from her sixty-year career are included. In her delivery, Howlett–like Parton–draws distinctions between her stage persona and her underlying sincerity. Hearing Howlett’s accentless yet inviting style adds to Parton’s appeal as she reveals her loves: God, music, and sex. Parton also says that she’s proud to be beloved by gays and feminists alike.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine [Published: JANUARY 2019] Review of Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music by Leigh H. Edwards in Audiofile Magazine.
“Lee Ann Howlett’s performance is passionate. The feelings of all the characters are accurately portrayed.” From review of The Bedwarmer’s Son by Caryl McAdoo in the September 2018 issue of InD’Tale Magazine. The full review may be accessed here.
Lee Ann’s narration of Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928 by Eliot Kleinberg nominated in the history category for a 2018 Audiobook Listener Award. For details: https://audiobookreviewer.com/abr-listeners-award/abr-listeners-choice-awards-2018-finalists-announced/
“Lee Ann Howlett’s measured yet compassionate narration reflects the title of this true-crime audiobook. Ejaz Ahmad moved to the U.S. from Pakistan to realize the American dream. Howlett portrays the warm and generous Ahmad as he thrives and helps others: Bonnie, his loving wife; Ernestine, her supportive mother, who is Howlett’s best creation; and Jordan, their endearing and articulate son. However, Bonnie divorces Ahmad because she doesn’t want to convert to Islam. Soon Ahmad marries the homeless Leah Ward, whose well-drawn instability is immediately apparent in her speech and behavior. Listeners’ concern will grow as Ahmad goes missing and Ward tells conflicting stories about him. It’s heartbreaking to learn of Ahmad’s fate yet fascinating to follow the police as they uncover what happened. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: DECEMBER 2017] Review of She is Evil! Madness and Murder in Memphis by Judith A. Yates from Audiofile Magazine.
“Narrator Lee Ann Howlett uses a compassionate tone for this story of the 1928 hurricane that killed 2,500 people in the Caribbean and Florida. Howlett enhances Kleinberg’s in-depth research of diaries, newspapers, and weather service and Red Cross information. Most fascinating is his use of personal recollections. Howlett’s skill with these makes for emotional listening, particularly when she’s describing the vastly different treatment of blacks and whites. Whites received proper burials while blacks were tossed into unmarked communal graves. Listeners will be most affected by meeting people before, during, and after the storm. It’s moving to hear that Zora Neale Hurston’s novel THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD was inspired by the hurricane. Kleinberg and Howlett, in their different ways, give dignity and recognition to these long forgotten victims.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: SEPTEMBER 2017] Review of Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928 by Eliot Kleinberg from Audiofile Magazine.
“Narrator Lee Ann Howlett brings to life an array of American vaudeville stars from the 1890s-1920s whose acts reflect the cultural changes caused by immigration, racial discord, and changing gender roles at that time. With a conversational delivery style, Howlett creates a tough persona for singer Eva Tanguay, emphasizing her strength while performing racy songs of the period. Also portrayed is Julian Eltinge, a top female impersonator whose extreme masculine facade in real life countered speculation that he was gay. Howlett is most enjoyable as Lillyn Brown, a biracial woman who played a black dandy with a top hat, which she removed to display long hair as she sang suggestive songs as a woman. The great Sophie Tucker herself played in blackface, impersonated men and people of other races, and emphasized her Jewishness. Listeners will be intrigued to hear that Lady Gaga is considered a modern gender bender.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: NOVEMBER 2016] Review of The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville by Kathleen B. Casey from Audiofile Magazine.
“Narrator Lee Ann Howlett does a rousing job portraying glorious New Orleans and its many residents. When 73-year-old Imogene Deal McGregor; her son, Billy; and his partner, Jackson Miller, arrive, they expect some traditional Southern hospitality but instead find their friend, Glenway Gilbert, dead in his studio. Howlett’s Imogene is hilarious, reckless, and determined to help solve the murder. Hypochondriac Billy, with his blood pressure cuff and medical satchel that becomes a weapon, is priceless. Boyfriend Miller looks out for both McGregors while trying to decide which of the many suspects is the murderer. Along the way, they meet praline chef Lena Ward, who has the perfect Southern voice, vocabulary, and personality. Listeners will enjoy an eventful tour and will especially enjoy the fun as one suspect is followed in a horse-drawn carriage.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: NOVEMBER 2016] Review of Imogene in New Orleans by Hunter Murphy from Audiofile Magazine.
“Narrator Lee Ann Howlett compassionately depicts a time when being poor and female was very difficult. The Bunner sisters, Anna Eliza (the elder) and Evelina, eke out a living in their tiny Manhattan basement haberdashery. Howlett skillfully captures the generous, insightful Anna Eliza and her selfish younger sister. She also deftly conveys the vast changes that occur when Herbert Ramy enters their lives after Anna Eliza buys a clock for her sister from him. Listeners will accompany the sisters as Howlett describes the women’s simple home, their bright summer days in Central Park, and Evelina’s sudden marriage to Ramy. Wharton’s conclusion is heartbreaking but believable.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: JUNE 2016] Review of Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton (published by Listen 2 a Book) from Audiofile Magazine.
“The topic of the historical red light district of New Orleans sounds like graphic subject matter. But the author takes a scholarly approach, and narrator Lee Ann Howlett’s conversational Southern delivery makes it engaging. Storyville (1897-1917) was created in an attempt to segregate prostitution in New Orleans. Notorious resident Lulu White–an octoroon, madam, and brilliant businesswoman, who frequently changed her life story–is skillfully portrayed by Howlett. She also deftly conveys the realities of sex across the color line–as well as the ambiance of the region itself, especially the beauty of the Mississippi River. Since Storyville is considered by many to be the birthplace of jazz, quotes from Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton add authenticity. Listeners will chuckle as things come full circle and Howlett concludes in an amused tone that in 1917 “the law stepped in and outlawed fun.” S.G.B. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine [Published: DECEMBER 2015] Review of Pacific Lady: The First Woman to Sail Solo across the World’s Largest Ocean by Sharon Sites Adams with Karen J. Coates from Audiofile Magazine.
“Narrator Lee Ann Howlett personifies Southern charm and grit as she tells the story of Memphis’ Sun Records, the label that produced Elvis, Johnny Cash, and many other notables. The author was a rarity during the 1950s and ’60s–a woman working in the business world. Howlett exuberantly presents owner Sam Phillips, with his Billy Graham smile and enthusiasm; Sun Records’ employees, and diverse musicians. Her conversational style enhances this insider look at “non-mainstream” American music, which includes accounts of scandals surrounding Jerry Lee Lewis’s marriage to a minor and the attempt to engineer the popularity of records through “payola.” Detailed descriptions of Phillips’s white-finned Caddy and employees’ daily lunches at Mrs. Taylor’s restaurant take listeners to a fascinating time and place. The epilogue movingly provides updates on most of the musicians in a fitting conclusion to this musical gem. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine [Published: SEPTEMBER 2015] Review of The Next Elvis by Barbara Barnes Sims from AudioFile Magazine.
“Lee Ann Howlett told this story the way it was meant to be. The times were hard and people were haggard and worn. She portrayed this perfectly. She added the element that portrayed the lives of the early pioneers as they moved west. Great work!” Review of Dust by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius and Anna Marcet Haldeman-Julius. Full review by crystalzen on SixthDimension Audiobook Reviews.
Interview with Lee Ann on Eargasms Audiobook Reviews.
Interview with Lee Ann on AudioBook Reviewer.
“This compelling short ghost story (1hr 22 mins) is narrated by the talented Lee Ann Howlett. Through her wonderful storytelling, the characters come to life and we step back in time to an era long past, and discover that things are not always what they seem…” Review of The Ghostly Rental by Henry James. Full review by Susan Keefe in Audiobook Monthly Magazine.
“Lee Ann Howlett reads the book in the manner of the rocking chair read. The material presents well as a read-a-loud short story, very much in keeping with the short-story’s epoch, when stories were read to others. In the minds eye we have old Aunt Lee Ann reading from the Oct. 1911 issue of in The Century Illustrated Monthly as the family circles round. The sound quality and recording are of excellent quality.” Review for The Joy of Nelly Deane by Willa Cather. Full review by Carrie Smith here: Ebook News Canada.
“Narration for this audiobook was provided by Lee Ann Howlett, I’ve previously listened to one of her narrations of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short, and again she did not disappoint. Her diction, simple inflection and tonal changes and subtle delineation from one character to the next are perfectly suited to the text and are a great enhancement.” Review for Kudzu by Kathleen Walls. Full review here: I Am, Indeed.
“This charming mystery features the newspaper office of a small California town. Editor Amy Hobbs and her young reporter, Clarice, who covers the police beat, have an endearing relationship. Narrator Lee Ann Howlett delightfully portrays Clarice, whose enthusiasm and emotion abound, much to her occasional embarrassment. Howlett also provides strong characterizations of Amy, Amy’s French-Canadian boyfriend, and pre- and post-WWII Germans. A relatively straightforward news story about a local senator leads to lost art and then then to several murders. Flashbacks to the war and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the newspaper office enliven the mystery and give the setting authenticity. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine [Published: JULY 2013]“ Review for Edited for Death by Michele Drier from AudioFile magazine.
“The narration provided by Lee Ann Howlett presented the story and the characters in a cleanly presented form: small tonal distinctions delineated the characters from one another and the narrative in a well-modulated presentation. Finely nuanced inflections provide verbal clues to the attitudes and personalities of the characters, from hesitancy to offhanded bravado, each was a perfectly voiced addition to the written text.” – Review for Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald on I am, Indeed.
“The narrator for this audiobook edition, Lee Ann Howlett, was truly remarkable. Her southern accent and charm enhanced these stories and brought each one to life. Overall, this was a wonderful audiobook experience and one that I would certainly recommend…FOUR stars.” Review for Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes on The Book Barista.
“I absolutely loved Lee Ann Howlett’s narration of this book… What really made this an excellent performance though weren’t just the different voices of her characters but also the accents. I am a native Texan and so many times I come across audio books or even on television where an actor or narrator will butcher the accent but Lee Ann Howlett was spot on.” – review of Tiaras & Texans by Laina Turner by Reflections of a BookWorm.
“Captivating from beginning to end, Kudzu is highly recommended.” – The Midwest Book Review.
“I enjoyed the audio version of Kudzu. The smooth southern voice brought authenticity to the story written by Kathleen Walls.” – Nancy Dyer, author of The Minorcan Yoke.”
“I was impressed at how well Coomer pulled off writing as a female, really two as Sarah’s aunt’s voice figures prominently in the story as well. Howlett’s narration proves a perfect fit for those women, as well as James, Edna’s significant other. Highly recommended.” – review for One Vacant Chair by Joe Coomer by Audible reviewer John S.
“I just finished listening to your monumental recording of The Golden Bowl. It is a book I read over 45 years ago with much enjoyment, but which I have had little patience to read in the last number of years. The opportunity to listen to the book, rather than read it, has given me great enjoyment, and I want to thank you. Your tone, your even-handedness, and above all your ability to navigate Henry James’s exquisite, precious, but very convoluted prose, are — if I may use a Jamesian phrase — splendid and grand! I can’t imagine how long this took you. It’s an impeccable recording, with just enough differences among the voices to help with identity, and not too much to be too precious. You are a masterful reader! Thank you again for the opportunity. The book brought joy because of its felicitous language and dialogue, and tears because of its deep emotional quality. Without you, I would not have been able to experience it again.” – Listener email from Lawrie Cherniack for Lee Ann’s LibriVox recording of The Golden Bowl by Henry James.
“Creepy thriller. Excellent reading by Lee Ann Howlett. She does great work for Librivox, so be sure to check out all her books. And the book was a page turner.” – Review for The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes for LibriVox by ListeninginChicago.
“Great Reading and interesting story. For the quality of the reader I would give 5 stars. Lee Ann Howlett lends such a practical tone to the character that I truly believed she was Dawn. Excellent job Lee Ann!” – Review for Dawn O’Hara, The Girl Who Laughed by Edna Ferber for LibriVox by benefitsingers.
“I have just finished listening to your reading of The Golden Bowl and felt so moved by it, particularly the way you read the final paragraphs. Thank very much for your commitment in reading so beautifully such a huge novel and with such control over James’ exceedingly long and complex sentences! I first read each chapter on Kindle and then turned to your reading which added so much meaning to, at times, a very elusive text. If I want to hear an American novel I try to choose a US reader and the tone of your voice matches so perfectly the tone of James’ writing. This novel is wonderful anyway but your reading made it perfect – I’ll now look for more of your work – thank you again.” — Listener comment received for LibriVox recording of The Golden Bowl by Henry James from Bee Hepworth, Essex, UK.