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Posted June 5, 2014
I have lots to say about this book. I enjoyed it and maybe even loved it, though there were times I had skipped some paragraphs. I will consider how much it affects the present review I have for the book later.
So, Lee Fullbright Brought us a masterpiece, beautifully written and nicely plotted. The Angry Woman Suite is a book The Screenbook. Blog highly recommends. It's a historical, family, mystery, suspense, psychological book that screams to you that you must read it. That way I scream too.If I am allowed to, I can and will compare Lee Fullbright with the popular and beloved Isabel Allende, as Fullbright reaches that high level of magical realism that not many current authors are capable of.
Not to give many spoilers, from now on, it's going to be short. The Angry Woman Suite will keep you on the edge of falling from the chair, the edge of screaming 'I did not think of that' and the edge of making a shrine to it. I was surprised to find such a great story behind the decent and modest, though somehow impressing, premise, cover and title.
This book should be so much more popular!
-Lavinyaa Pash, from The Screebook. Blog
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Posted July 1, 2014
I enjoyed my journey with the characters of the book. The Angry Woman Suite is an absolute page-turner. What makes it unique from all other books in the world is that there are three narrators in the novel. The beautiful stories are presented in different ways and perspectives. Because of this, the readers are given more chances of having clear pictures of what’s happening in the lives of the characters. I love how the author started the book with the line “It is said that love is comfort, and that comfort comes from recognition of the beloved.”Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 30, 2014
The description of this novel made me think of The Thorn Birds, which was not my "usual" genre, but which I just LOVED once I picked it up. The settings are different (The Thorn Birds is set in Australia, whereas The Angry Woman Suite is set in America), but both are long-spanning family histories that cover the same time periods (roughly 1915-1970).
The story opens with Elyse sharing the story of her family and life in 1955, when she was five years old. I was immediately drawn into her tale of her early years in Sacramento with her loving extended family. Her father had passed away before the novel begins, so she and her mother and little sister share their home with Elyse's grandparents and aunt Rose. That is, until her mother remarries to Daddy Francis ("just Daddy," as her mother tells her, not wanting anyone to think that she might have been previously divorced) and moves with her daughters to Missouri. My heart broke for the young Elyse and her sister as they were ripped away from their beloved family and thrust into a nightmare.
The next section is told from Francis' point of view, as he provides his version of Elyse's childhood. He discusses his own early childhood and the experiences he had that molded him into the man he later became in 1933 Pennsylvania. The real mysteries of the novel begin here, from the perspective of a five-year-old boy who lives in the crumbling Grayson House with his brother, mother, grandmother, and two aunts. I was able to feel the confusion he felt as he starts trying to figure out his home life and the events of the past that had created his present.
When Aidan Madsen steps in to narrate the next section, the mystery deepens. All the primary characters have now been mentioned, with lots of hints of love and loss and betrayal, but the connections are still unclear.
Since the story is told from the point of view of these three very different characters, the reader gets three conflicting views of various events. Each narrator tells his/her tale from his/her own unique perspective, with personal prejudices and biases clearly expressed. Hints are dropped as to the various traumatic events that shape each character, which thickens the plot and keeps the reader flipping the pages to find out more about these various tragedies that plague the characters.
Having three narrators could be confusing, but the chapters are clearly titled with not only the narrator's name, but also the location and year in which the events that the narrator discusses occurred. There are no abrupt POV shifts. I do suggest using the list of Narrators and their circles found in the front of the book as a reference rather than trying to understand the connections at the beginning.
This book is an epic saga of a severely damaged family, told from the viewpoints of three people who lived through the events. This is not a feel-good book full of sunshine and happiness. The Angry Woman Suite is an intriguing page-turner full of lies, betrayals, and secrets that are slowly revealed throughout. Definitely a must-read, but make sure you have some free time lined up because you won't want to put this one down.
Posted June 27, 2014
Fullbright writes in a style that feels like a throwback to the classics. She has three narrators, that each that weave their way around the story without fully telling it upfront. This is not a poolside read; Fullbright shows the darker side of human nature while slowly exploring the closet with all the hidden skeletons. There is a reason why the skeletons should stay locked away and The Angry Woman Suite shows you what can happen when they manage to escape.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2014
I love that this book is written from the view of three characters and not just one. To me that makes it a little more interesting. All of the plot twists made me want to keep reading and not put it down. Things never seem to be what they actually are in this novel. The book was not what I expected. It does have a lot of characters and jumps around a lot. Each character has its own problem and I did get a little lost a few times but figured out what was going on. I really enjoyed this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2014
A well written thoroughly engaging story told from the view point of three different characters. The multiple narrative allows Fullbright to tease us, draw us in to the plot and just as we start to think we've worked it out the tale twists and NO it wasn't what we thought. I don't write spoilers in my reviews as I feel strongly about detracting from another readers experience. I will say though that if like me you get a little confused at times with the twists and turns of the novel, don't worry. Stick with it and all becomes apparent. There was a point during Aiden's narrative where I got a little lost but once I got to the end I realised I was lost because Aiden was lost in thought, in the past and on his emotions. Overall a great book with some dark subject matter that will keep you hooked until the last word.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2014
This book was very interesting and intriguing. I think it could be categorized both as historical fiction and as a mystery. Three different characters narrate, each telling the story as they remember it. I always find it interesting when people are reminiscing about something they experienced together and they all have slightly different memories of what happened. This story felt this way for me. The author takes you back and forth through time, from character to character, weaving together their family history. She brings out all their dysfunctional, deep, dark, family secrets … all the skeletons in their closets. Since most (if not all), families have secrets, I feel like this story may “hit home” or resonate with many people.
I enjoyed this book, although it was sometimes difficult to adjust to the time frame changes and to keep track of which character was narrating. I admit to having to go back to reread some sections that were confusing to me. All that being said, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a well written, deep book … not a quick, easy read :)
Posted June 19, 2014
A very strong and potent story with emotive scenes which will touch on every human feeling.
The writers style is unique and classic which will appeal to a large range of readers and is one of the best novels I have read this year. The author has created a masterpiece which revolves around three different characters whose life's are interlinked and the circumstances and historic behaviours which make the people who they are today.
A very descriptive writing around human nature and how family traits and influences from ancestors or matriarchs can pave our future . The excellent prose gives the reader a lot to imagine and paints a scene that you can easily see and feel that you are there as an extra . This story is full on and will make the reader become upset in certain parts which only adds credence to the novelist bravery in tackling some issues others would shy away from.
The touching point for me about this book is the fact that all the characters are on a journey to find out where they belong as well as trying to establish an identity which is what I am trying to do in my own life.
An excellent read and one of the best novels I have read and this was due to the authors unique style of writing and the reality factor within the story.
Posted June 17, 2014
Lee Fullbright does a wonderful job of weaving the story of 3 generations together. How does a young girl deal with all of the skeletons in the closet, and come to understand what drives the people in her family. This is definitely not a lighthearted book. It is dark and full of twists and turns. It took me awhile to get through, just because I didn't want to get sucked into the darkness too much.
The author does a wonderful job of showing the motivation and viewpoints of each character. You don't find a book very often where you get to see how different characters interpret an event. We all know that people witnessing or hearing about an event interpret things differently. Of course, in this book, I feel like the youngest character really understands more than the other characters. Maybe by the time she comes around the others may have a better understanding of what happened in the past, but it is still about how they were wronged or blinded and couldn't see the truth.
I give this book 4 stars. If you are looking for a light read for the summer, then this book probably isn't for you. However, if you are looking for a book that is full of twists and turns and dynamic characters, then this is the book for you. Yes, it is a little dark and heavy but it is still a good read. This book is more for adults. I wouldn't recommend it for children. Even teenagers may have a hard time understanding everything in the book.
I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
Posted June 10, 2014
This book was something else.
I will say I liked it. So let me start my review by saying that I did like it.
I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I liked it.
There were parts of this book that were hard to read. They took me on my own emotional journey that I wasn’t sure what to think, how to feel, what to do.
It wasn’t anything extreme, but I think for me, it hit home for personal reasons and the events were things that you don’t typically read about. (Okay, well, I don’t typically read about.)
I will say that I could not put the darn book down. I couldn’t read fast enough to see where the book, where the story, was going.
The author ropes you in from the very beginning by not giving you full disclosure and leaves you wanting more and I couldn’t get more fast enough!
All in all, it was a good read.
Posted June 9, 2014
This is a very twisted book about a family, with a story that goes back to the early 1900s and follows 3 different characters as their lives intertwine, through all the bumps and crazy turns that life takes!
It is definitely not a light read, but it mixes heavy topics with lighter ones so that it is still a book that you enjoy reading.
Since the story is told from 3 different viewpoints it's kind of confusing in the beginning but once you get a few chapters in you get really invested in the characters and want them to succeed in life, even as you watch them struggle.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate this review.
Posted June 4, 2014
THE MUSIC COMES TO LIVE - The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright is possibly the “freshest new read” I’ve had the pleasure to experience in over one year. POV from a few characters made me wonder the worst to the funniest. I liked it because Elyse had her memories while Francis wasn’t able to cope with what he was living. And, of course, he is capable of love but needs to correct the situation. In Francis’ world, the music had died, well, according to him but his band still went on. I wasn’t sure if it was really a dysfunctional family per se. Every character had their own issues with their ways of handling their own thing.
Elyse and Bean were a comfort to each other and I liked that. Perhaps, not wanting to rock the boat, as the saying goes. As I kept reading into someone else’s diary, the whole story comes together. Also, it seems that silence or secrets were a must. The character named Aidan was believable for some reason. While others seemed to be living in fear since many passages were sort of farfetched.
It is beautifully written, sometimes, a little confusing for someone like me who really tries to understand each and every character. Maybe a sequel will enlighten some places where I thought it could have used a little more justifications. It’s different and I recommend it.
Posted June 4, 2014
I just finished reading this complex novel which tells the story of a family with ghosts aplenty in their closet. The story is told by 3 generations of this family; Elyse Bowden Grayson (born 1950), Francis Grayson (born 1928) and Aiden Madsen (born 1880). The chapters flip back and forth between the three and it is sometimes hard to keep it all straight.
Grayson House is a large old house which has witnessed much sadness and a whole lot of hate. It is a psychological novel in that it tells of the strange and cruel things done to all the inhabitants and how that is carried forth through the generations. It also is a family whose males inherit Huntington's disease. Family dynamics or lack there of are also discussed. There is a mystery involved and the twists and turns -well the ending shocked me!
I have to say that this is an extremely well written book and I will probably go back and re read it again in case I missed anything the first time around.
Posted June 3, 2014
I really enjoyed this novel because it was told from the point of view from three characters that are very different. This novel goes back to the 1900s and travels forwards with the story of different things that happen along the way to the family. We are first introduced to Elyse who has her world rocked when her mother marries a rock star. Elyse’s character is featured as nine years old in the first few chapters of the book. She has had a childhood like no other. The second character that we are introduced to is the stepfather, Francis. Francis has not had a life that was all rainbows and butterflies either as we find out. He blames a lot of what has gone wrong in his life on mother and sisters. He is an addict that has problems that you can’t help but feel for him. The third character that we are introduced to is Aiden. Aiden is not a typical part of the family and is pretty much an outsider. He is vital to the story because he is a friend and some kind of mentor to Francis. Aiden’s narration brings us closer to the story line as what someone outside the family would be feeling if they were to watch everything as it happened. Another character that we get to discover is Magdelene. Although she is not part of the narration of the story, she is still an important part to the story line and deserves to be mentioned when talking about the characters that are involved in the novel. Magdelene is that “angry woman”.
I loved the plot of the story because it took you on a journey through what it was like to be in a family that was not perfectly functional. There are things throughout the story like fighting, murder and betrayal that you will be left with no choice but to be sucked in to what is going on with this family. The title is a lady misleading as I thought when I first heard the title mentioned that it was going to be about a bunch of angry women, but it quite the contrary. I have already given enough away about the characters. I am afraid that if I dig in much more as to why I liked each of them that I will be spoiling the novel for you. I want you to experience this tale for yourself. This novel is a mix of genres, which I love. No matter what genre you like to read, you will love this novel. It has something for everyone, even a little romance. This is a well written piece of greatness that I can not believe is the author’s debut work. Lee Fullbright gets a huge pat on the back for all of the attention to detail and making the characters so believable. I wanted to know everything about them. You will feel compelled to feel for the characters. This is by no means a read that is to be taken lightly but it has it’s moments so that you don’t feel bogged down by all that is going on in the novel. I loved all the different situations that came together into one story and I will definitely be looking out for more from the author.
I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
Posted June 1, 2014
This is a book that will send you forwards and backwards, plus up and down. A rich storyline full of mystery and secrets that spans time. One that brings you a story from different storytellers. I admit I was confused once or twice as it switched between narrations, but this was necessary to bring everything together to reach it’s conclusion. Some of the characters in the book are mistreated as I see it.There are some sad points, but they do explain a lot in general to the story. Like I said… I did have some trouble switching around in the story, but overall, I thought it was a good read.Really tested the mind to keep it straight.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2013
Let me tell you right off the bat that this was not a book that connected with me in the way I had hoped. Don't get me wrong--the book had good content, characters, and much more. There was a lot of great historical reference, and I appreciated that immensely. I also loved the music and artistic bent of some of the characters in the story. I was enraptured with the musical descriptions, and the art was quite intriguing. In fact, for me, those were the highlights. I could have read a lot more about both. I was drawn into the way in which the children were treated. I don't want to offer any spoilers on the emotional portions of the story.
But I have to give my honest opinion (which may or may not agree with yours). Unfortunately, there was a lot of truly unnecessary profanity. (I know I always feel profanity is unnecessary, but there are varying degrees in my opinion.) There were allusions to sex scenes, and some that were very non-descriptive. I could handle those. The stark violence was sometimes bone-chilling, but I suppose I could even deal with that.
My highest objection was the style in which the book was written. I appreciate the fact that there was a "cast of characters" sheet in the beginning of the book. But the constant jumping from time period to time period between the chapters truly confused me. I don't mind occasional flashbacks, but I found this style to be extremely disjointed and hard to follow. Maybe I just need to get used to the style, but I feel I would have enjoyed this book more had it not jumped around so much.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated,and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Posted August 25, 2013
A real page-turner, but my favorite aspect of this book is the complex characterization. I know an author is good when I start feeling sorry for a child-abusing, temper-tantrum throwing, pathetic character like Francis.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2013
The Angry Woman Suite is the story of a small American town, the intricately interwoven lives of the Graysons, the Waterstons and Aiden Marsden (a teacher) and at a distance the combined family of Wilheim Lange and the Bowdens. In the background the Second World War and the Big Band era. The novel is a very powerful study in evil, the choices the characters make and the mystery of American culture.
Reading The Angry Woman Suite is like being caught in the heat of a Summer afternoon in the South with mint julep drinks, inside the powerful intrigues of a small American town. The story takes place in the 1900's, particularly in the 1930's and `40's with World War II and the big band era in the background and unfolding through generations into the 1960's. It is well written, each sentence in cadence and easily draws the reader in. An entangled story of people and families, the novel unfolds through the first person voice of 3 people Elyse, her step-father Francis Grayson and a friend of the Grayson family who is a teacher, Aiden. The story begins from the point of view of the children (Elyse and Francis as children) and it is enchanting to see their motivations, their view of the adults as if they are born into a great mystery and how they grow to understand, a coming of age story.
Elyse's Papa, her mother's father-in-law is somewhat conscious, he tells the child the world is a place of games, people are playing games, there are winners and losers and how to discern the "game". This Papa plasters everything ceilings, walls, and bare spaces with large yellow cabbage roses and besides the children I found him the most likable character. Francis, the son of Magdalene and a child of the Grayson household is raised by his grandmother, his mother and her sisters who take out their angst at love lost on the child, he wishes he could fix them and then he would live. Born into Biloxi Blues, he is physically abused by one of his aunts, he finds respite in music and becomes a famous Big Band musician (who also physically abuses his step-daughter Elyse). Aiden, the school teacher and friend of the family first helps raise Magdalene and her sisters and then Jamie, Earl and Francis, particularly helping Francis put the pieces of his life together and helps Elyse.
The plots and characters have many twists and turns, it is also a story of lost innocence, a story of unconscious violence, as evil as unconscious and America the dream/the nightmare. In the background is the idea of war, 2 World Wars, Vietnam and the Revolutionary War; a scuffle with the British, the Battle of Brandywine that the town lost; the history lives in the Museum curated by Aiden. It is a painful recounting, the physical abuse of the 2 main characters as children and the deaths of Mathew Waterston (the artist) and his wife, Earl, Bean, the suicide of Lear Grayson (Francis' grandfather), the insanity of Lothian (Francis' aunt), and Stella (Francis' aunt), the disease of Huntington's that strikes Jamie.
The story is full of intrigue and the brokenness of life, betrayal in love, the violence this manifests, as if the world never quite possesses itself. "Stories, history - both are about power. Who gets it who gets to keep it, who loses it." And the novel rings with truisms and mystery in psychological drama that is often unsettling as the characters veer away from their woundedness to either create more woundedness or more rarely healing. "Which is why I think we so often play hide and seek with the truth, don't you think? Choosing to build and believe in our own castles in the sky instead - I mean, it's a whole lot less painful than getting hurt by people who love you and you love back."
It is reminiscent of John Steinbeck's East of Eden, the small town in America, the story of the 2 families, the Hamilton's and the Trask's - how Adam raises his sons Caleb and Aron, the hidden dialectic of evil and how Steinbeck draws the line with the words "thou mayest" as if evil is a choice, when grounded in cultural and spiritual tenets, evil or redemption is a choice. The Angry Woman Suite never quite draws this line but instead revers the life of the artist in music, painting and writing - art as redemption. Disturbing and brilliant, a fascinating read.
By Rebecca Ann Banks
Posted September 16, 2012
The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright
Release Date: March 10th, 2012
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Page Count: 366
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publicist, Little Bird Publicity, in exchange for an honest an unbiased review
What Stephanie Thinks: They say there are multiple sides to every story, but what do you do when you hear all of them at once? How do you know which one to believe?
The Angry Woman Suite introduces us to our three tragic heros: Elyse, a young girl who's always just wanted to know to love and be loved; Francis, her stepfather, who's always been too good, too good for even himself; and Aidan, confidante to both Elyse and Francis, the epitome of both wisdom and weakness. Readers are exposed to Elyse's terrifying and beseeching childhood, and the even-more disturbing upbringing of Francis, which allows us to understand how he has turned out the way he is, and just how that might affect his future. The different perspectives are fascinating to stick with and attempt to unravel. What makes this book stand out the most is that we don't only have an unreliable narrator; we've got three.
Elyse's story is the most believable just because her voice is so fresh, so wholesome, and it revolves around the confusion and uncertainty — and horror — she's felt ever since Francis came into her life. Francis's is even rawer and even more shocking, but it seems to be influenced greatly by his histrionics, which is plausible given how he is portrayed by both Elyse and Aidan. Aidan's is rather mellow, at least at first, but it ends up being the most deceitful, the most revealing, of all. He's such a sage, experienced character... or so we think. It was interesting to watch each character develop as time passed and memories faded.
Oftentimes I found the story's progression confusing because of the different situations and time periods of each narrator. Dates are included at the beginning of each chapter, but it still is hard to untangle the three separate storylines from each other. Too many characters are introduced in the beginning at once, which also contributes to the cloudiness of the plot initially. However, where The Angry Woman Suite is nebulous in structure, it is equally excellent in style. Fullbright has a tender, glimmering voice who knows how to portray each narrator differently, but still very vividly. I found myself being able to relate to each of the main characters, sympathizing with one, then contradicting myself by feeling for another.
A warning would be the book's heavy themes of child abuse. I personally found it tough reading through the more difficult scenes, but the topic is one I am intrigued by in fiction, and therefore could really appreciate. It may make some queasy.
The Angry Woman Suite would probably classify as a mystery, one that involves clandestine family histories, twisted relationships, pretense, ill timing, and a certain ironic sense of tragedy. The constantly swirling questions definitely made this one hard to put down, but at the same time, I was a bit turned off by the length (it dragged on at times) and the disorganized compilation. The characters however, are so real, so crude, that they, as well as their deepest of secrets and greatest of fears, will definitely resonate with readers who give them a try.
Stephanie Loves: "'They need to be exercised, hearts do ... to keep them strong.'"
Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended.
Posted September 9, 2012
This was such an interesting book to read from the first page to the very last. The author has such a unique way of telling the story and creating characters who like the book itself came to us slow as not to reveal everything about them at once.
At first I was a little unsure of the book and it wasn't until the 75 page mark that I really felt like the book had it it's stride. Prior to that I was a little lost and confused with how the story was being told and had to go back and re-read some parts to make sure I got all the information.
The way in which the story is told in alternating points of view between Aiden, Elyse and Francis so at times even after I got into the book that I had to stop and get my bearing again. I think what I liked most about the characters was that each of them brought something new and interesting to the table and they were all so different it was as though they were real people.
I also really enjoyed the careful attention to detail that the author took in making her scenes and descriptions seem as authentic as they were. Though I wouldn't really classify this as a historical novel it is set between 1900 and 1960. You can really tell that the author took a lot of care when she was writing and I think that is commendable. I dislike reading books that are set in another time where the authors don't do their fair share of researching to make things as accurate as they can and it is that careful attitude about the creation of her characters and descriptive writing style that made this such a successful novel.
I enjoyed the fact that there were so many different facets to the book. Like I said when I first started the book I was unsure of what to make of it but when Francis's past started unwinding and I learned more about him and what happened to him during his life as well as those of Adrian and Elyse things started to make more and more sense. What surprised me the most about the novel though was that it could actually be quiet dark and bleak in places and I suppose I expected this one to be a little lighter than it was.
All in all this was an enjoyable read. I can see why it won an award because the writer is exceptionally talented. She has a voice that is unique to her and she really was able to bring me into her novel and make me want to read more. I do have to say though that this is probably a book best read in snippets. I read my copy in a couple days but I can honestly say that I'm going have to go back and re-read just to make sure I caught everything. If you enjoy historical fiction set in the 1900's with a darker mysterious twist I highly recommend checking this one out it's 100% worth it.
*I received a free copy in exchange for my free and honest review. I was not compensated in any way and all thoughts and opinions expressed therein are my own.