This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lee will be giving away a $100 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
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. He finds a friend and mentor in Aidan Madsen, schoolmaster, local Revolutionary War historian, musician and keeper of the Grayson women’s darkest secrets. In a skillful move by Fullbright, those secrets are revealed through the viewpoints of three different people–Aidan, Francis and Francis’stepdaughter, Elyse–adding layers of eloquent complexity to a story as powerful as it is troubling.
While Francis realizes his dream of forming his own big band in the 1940s, his success is tempered by the inner monster of his childhood, one that roars to life when he marries Elyse’s mother. Elyse becomes her stepfather’s favorite target, and her bitterness becomes entwined with a desire to know the real Francis Grayson.
For Aidan’s part, his involvement with the Grayson family only deepens, and secrets carried for a lifetime begin to coalesce as he seeks to enlighten Francis–and subsequently Elyse–of why the events of so many years ago matter now. The ugliness of deceit, betrayal and resentment permeates the narrative, yet there are shining moments of hope, especially in the relationship between Elyse and her grandfather.
Ultimately, as more of the past filters into the present, the question becomes: What is the truth, and whose version of the truth is correct? Fullbright never untangles this conundrum, and it only adds to the richness of this exemplary novel.—Kirkus Reviews
This book is a powerful, multi-layered, multi-generational book. Dark, rich, and intriguing like a sauce you want to go back and savor again and again. Those of you who know me know that I'm not that reader that rereads many books-- Gone with the Wind, Tolkien, Austen, and Gabaldon-- but that's about it. This book may have made it onto that list. I know I'll go back and reread it at least once. Now that I've read the ending, I want to go back and see what I might have missed.
The book has three POV characters... Aidan, Francis, and Elyse. None blood-related, but all intimately intwined in the mystery that is The Angry Woman Suite.
It's similar to a Southern Gothic--family secrets build up and build up until the reader discovers the truth. I pride myself on normally figuring out mysteries, but this time--I have to admit that Lee Fullbright kept me guessing. Kudos to the author for an intriguing debut novel. I'm anxious to see what she's going to do next.
About the Author:
The Angry Woman Suite, a Kirkus Critics’ pick, 5-starred Readers Favorite, and a Discovery Aware winner, is her first published novel.