Book Review: The Angry Woman Suite

Book:  The Angry Woman Suite
Author:  Lee Fulbright
Pages:   378
Format:  Kindle, Paperback
Publisher:  Telemachus Press
Book Source:  Provided by Publicist
Category:  Literary Fiction
Style:  Well-written, disturbing scenes of child abuse, some profanity, more vulgarity

Synopsis from GoodReads (Kirkus Reviews):


Secrets and lies suffuse generations of one Pennsylvania family, creating a vicious cycle of cruelty in this historical novel that spans the early 1900s to the 1960s. Raised in a crumbling New England mansion by four women with personalities as split as a cracked mirror, young Francis Grayson has an obsessive need to fix them all.

There's his mother, distant and beautiful Magdalene; his disfigured, suffocating Aunt Stella; his odious grandmother; and the bane of his existence, his abusive and delusional Aunt Lothian. For years, Francis plays a tricky game of duck and cover with the women, turning to music to stay sane. . . . more

From Back Cover per Amazon:
When overbearing former big band star Francis Grayson mentions the "murdering bitches" who supposedly ruined his life, his resentful stepdaughter Elyse—always on the lookout for simple dirt on Francis—takes note. Intertwining narrative with Francis, Elyse stumbles across glimmers of big murder instead of simple dirt, while Francis moves perspective of his "bitches" back to the 1930s, to his childhood in Pennsylvania. His coming-of-age story centers on a mysterious painting and search for the artist who he believes can fix his feuding family. Aiding him in his quest is his mother's lover, Aidan Madsen, who not only mentors Francis' music career, but knows everything about two murders implicating the women in Francis' family. The three narrators of The Angry Woman Suite—Elyse, Francis, and Aidan—weave together a picture of two disturbed families who meet their match in the young, determined to survive Elyse Grayson, and human to a fault hero, Aidan Madsen.

My Take:

To be totally honest, when I agreed to participate in this blog hop, I focused on the historical fiction selling points and
failed to understand the elements of child abuse so strongly written into this novel.  I found the narrative I managed to read very well written, and I can see the possibilities of how this author received the accolades this work garnered.

On Amazon.com, The Angry Woman Suite earns a 4.8, based on 27 reviews, which is an excellent rating.  Likewise, on Goodreads.com, the novel rates at 4.56 out of 36 contributors.

On both sites, Ms. Fulbright uses the Kirkus review as her synopsis.  She also includes several other very positive editorial reviews (as opposed to customer reviews) on Amazon.com.

The Angry Woman Suite also earned first place for literary fiction in the 2012 Indie Reader Discovery Awards.  (Read more about the competition here).

All that said, I live literally every moment of every day with the effects of child abuse.  As our family rallies together and tries to help the woman and her children who fled an abusive situation, the terrible consequences of this evil confront us in stark and cold reality.

Although I agreed to read this book a month before Sherri brought her family to live with us, I have enough of that in my life right now.  I also started reading another book in a similar vein before this descended upon us, which I haven't been able to pick up since.  Both are very well written and I may return to them at some point, but, that day won't come in the foreseeable future.  Quite simply, I can't handle the subject matter.

Bottom Line:  I can neither recommend nor censure this book, as I have not read it completely.  However, the reviews are excellent, with good craftsmanship in what I read.  If the subject matter is to your taste, you would probably enjoy this book.  However, from what I read, I believe it fails to meet the general expectations of "historical fiction".  Emphasis on the mystery would be much better suited.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes

Want to win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite? Well, there are two ways to enter...
  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Angry Woman Suite tour page.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
About the author: Lee Fullbright is a fourth-generation Californian, raised and educated in San Diego. She is a medical practice consultant and lives on San Diego’s beautiful peninsula with her twelve-year-old Australian cattle dog, Baby Rae. The Angry Woman Suite, a Kirkus Critics’ Pick and Discovery Award winner, is her debut novel. Connect with Lee on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.
Get The Angry Woman Suite on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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FTC disclaimer:  An electronic copy of this book was provided by the author or their agent with the understanding I would publish a fair and honest review.  I receive no other compensation for this content.

6 comments:

Karielle Stephanie said...

Thanks for your thoughtful review even though you weren't able to finish the book! I agree with you that it's heavier on issues of child abuse that wrap it up into a dark mystery.

Carrie said...

I agree that the mystery and the twists and interplay between the members of the families should be the focus. It's a good book but you really need to be paying attention to detail to make sure all the clues are there :)

Emlyn Chand said...

Thanks for your review, Penny, and I'm sorry this novel hit so close to home for you. I know certain issues are just tough. Usually I'm the one writing about them ;-)

Nai said...

I love your honesty, and commend you for still taking part even when life is obviously not playing nice.

I still think the review you did give is awesome, and I hope you get to read the book someday. :)

Penny Freeman said...

Thanks, ladies. Even the best battle plans change once the first shot is fired, but you still have to plug away. I enjoy doing reviews so much, I hate to on them, but I hate even worse not honoring my commitments. Unfortunately, I have to choose the lesser of two evils.

Veronika said...

Wow congrats on the Indie Reader Discovery Awards! That's amazing! Thank you for the review!
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com