Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Angry Woman Suite - Lee Fullbright

The Angry Woman Suite
I'm back on the book tour train.  Today, I'm taking a look at The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright.  I am participating in this tour through Novel Publicity. Check out the official tour page to see what other bloggers thought and to read an excerpt of the book.
Full disclosure: they did send me a free copy of the book. Never fear: I will only ever give my honest opinion. 

I will get to my review in a moment.  I want to make sure, though, that you do not miss your chance to win at the end of this post.  Novel Publicity is graciously giving away two $50 Amazon gift cards and an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite.  Here's what you need to do:

Option 1: Use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter.  One gift card and the autographed book will be given out through the Rafflecopter.

Option 2: Leave a comment on this post. One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win.

Ok, down to business.

With book tours, I feel that it's only fair to explain to you why the book caught my attention in the first place.  When first contacted about this tour, here's the description I was given:
"'Every family has skeletons, but the Grayson family has more than its share of secrets–and of portraits. Mystery portraits that incite and obscure. Portraits to die for. An unsolved celebrity double murder in Pennsylvania. A girl looking for autonomy. A young man in search of an identity. An older man’s quest for justice. A plot that pulls and twists. Get The Angry Woman Suite through Amazon."
At first glance, perhaps nothing special; enough to make me investigate a little further and not immediately dismiss the offer, as I do with many.  It took only a few clicks for me to discover that The Angry Woman Suite has been busy getting some attention from critics and winning several awards (more info in the author bio below).

Things got off to a great start; Fullbright included a character list at the start of her book.  Now, I don't know if this stems from my love for Great Illustrated Classics as a child or not, but I love those things.

Fullbright uses three narrators to tell her story.  The three interconnected protagonists each present a different viewpoint to the same story.  Aiden Madsen is a teacher and historian; Francis Grayson is a musician who studied under Madsen; Elyse Grayson is the stepdaughter of Francis.

The book is not an easy one.  The vocabulary and reading level are normal and understandable, but their is far more happening here than what is easily available on the surface.  The characters are deep and complex.  As the narrators pass the story around, it becomes evident that you cannot be entirely certain which one you trust.  They each see the events of their lives a bit differently and with themselves as the protagonist.

The name of the book comes from a suite of paintings in the story.  Francis's grandfather, a famous painter, completes the collection long before his birth.  The paintings are all portraits of Francis's mother, Magdalene Grayson.  He paints her not as the beautiful woman she is on the surface, but the angry, hurt woman she is underneath.  He claims the suite to be a tribute to his own wife, with whom things have become complex.

The relationships described are not happy ones.  The book has a dark undertone to it.  Abuse, betrayal, and deception are prevalent. Several of the characters also deal with serious physical and mental challenges.  They are all very human, each believing themselves to have been greatly wronged in some manner or another.  This is where those conflicting viewpoints of the narrators can have you flip-flopping allegiances.   Wonderfully, though, it is not only the narrators who are complex and interesting.  Every character in Fullbright's tale has depth.  No one is swept over or used as window dressing for the sake of the main characters.

I really enjoyed The Angry Woman Suite.  It had enough intrigue to keep me entertained, enough depth to keep me interested, and was written well enough to keep me invested.  This is a book that I think could benefit well from a second reading, an activity I plan on in the future.

Pages: 378
Date Completed: September 26, 2013

About the author:  Lee Fullbright, a lifelong San Diegan, lives on beautiful Point Loma with her Australian cattle dog, Baby Rae (owner of her heart). Her literary mystery, The Angry Woman Suite, was a Kirkus Critics’ Pick, and won a Discovery Award (for literary fiction), as well as a Royal Dragonfly HM, and the award for “Best Mystery” at the 2013 San Diego Book Awards. Lee Fullbright is also the recipient of the 2013 Geisel Award, for “best of the best” at the SDBA. Connect with Lee on her websiteFacebookTwitter, or GoodReads.

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  1. Wow, sounds like a really interesting book, Alise! Thanks for the review! :-)

  2. Great review. I also loved the character list at the beginning...and yes, I do think this has something to do with reading plays and children's classics! :) I like how you praised the book for NOT being simple or easy...too often it seems like the opposite is held as what makes a good read, but I personally like stories that make me think and stretch me a little as a reader.

  3. So glad The Angry Woman Suite caught your attention and that you ended up loving it! Please don't forget to cross-post to Amazon and GoodReads or to enter the Rafflecopter and random commenter contests for yourself.

    Em <3

  4. This book sounds quite interesting. I like that you found it complex, yet it was not a hundred dollar word fest! I do enjoy a novel with a darker side. I do believe I will be checking this out as soon as possible.

    Thanks for a good review with enough depth to challenge my long held tradition of only reading books within specific genres.

  5. I agree so much! The character list helped a lot because there are many characters who play pivotal roles. I liked it immensely but as you said, it is a very dark read :)

  6. Wow, great review! I love how you said the "as the narrators pass the story around" and yes, my allegiances shifted a LOT. I enjoyed the complexity and multi facetedness of the characters as well. :)