Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goddess Fish: "The Angry Woman Suite" by Lee Fullbrght Book Review/Giveaway (Ends 2/1) WW

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


“I’ll tell you what I’m ready for, Aidan. I’m ready for the top floor.” His eyebrows shot up.

“I beg your pardon?”

“The third floor of Grayson House. I’m ready for it. I’m really ready.”

“I don’t think I understand—”

“Please, Aidan.” I emphasized each word: “I’m ready to meet Jamie.”

I turned and walked out of that parlor then, and into the foyer and up the ten steps to the landing where the grand staircase turned direction. I ran up the first flight, then paused at the second landing, waiting for Aidan. When I glimpsed him behind me, I turned and ran up the next flight, to the third floor, straight for the door at the end of the hallway, next to the door that opened onto the outside stairs.

I’d been able to pinpoint this door as the one by the soft thumps I’d heard when I’d sneaked into Papa’s room on the second floor—things nobody thought I’d hear—and by watching from my spot across the road: the quick deliveries and arrivals, the things and people nobody thought I’d see.

I hesitated, not feeling anything, I was now so empty. No more  anger. Instead I was in tune with senses: the steady tick-tock of the clock at the end of the otherwise soundless hallway, the wallpaper’s perfectly vertical stripe, even an aromatic odor reminiscent of the appendectomy I’d had when I was six—was it ether? And then, finally, Aidan’s ragged breathing when he caught up with me. We were ready,  in position—and it was understood I’d assumed leadership: I’d go first.

I turned the doorknob. My opponent had just run through his resources.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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 objections 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.

View all my reviews

Lee Fullbright, a medical practice consultant in her non-writing life, lives on San Diego’s beautiful peninsula with her writing partner, Baby Rae, a 12-year-old rescued Australian cattle dog with attitude.        

The Angry Woman Suite, a Kirkus Critics’ pick, 5-starred Readers Favorite, and a Discovery Aware winner, is her first published novel.


 Lee will be giving away a $100 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.  Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

As an addendum:
I'm so glad to see so many of you responding on here.  Just in case you don't follow my reviews much, let me emphasize that I hardly ever mark down a book for profanity and sex scenes.  And this book is no exception.  Due to the nature of my blog, I always point out any potential problems in a book.  The beauty of reviews is that we all have different perspectives.  I have read many complimentary reviews of books with which I did not connect, and I have read less complimentary reviews of books I loved and could not imagine people not liking.  I strive to honestly review books, and just because I did not like portions of the book, it does not mean it was a horrible book or had no merit.  Very rarely have I ever read a book that I feel has no merit.  I appreciate the fact that Lee allowed me to review the book, and though it is not at the top of my list of favorites, it was certainly a book that dealt with many complex issues.  I am certain that a good share of people reading the review here will enjoy the book even more than I did.


  1. Good morning Lee, I hope your computer will work with you today :)

    Multiple points of view not alway work for me, I usually skip a few pages to the person I want to read about(Aidan!). This book has done quite well, are there any expectation or pressure from your publisher to have another book out soon?

    shadowrunner1987 AT gmail DOT com

  2. I thought that the story sounded fascinating. The review was okay, but I think there was more to this story than the reviewer found.

  3. Really great story, but the complexity of it might not be for everyone.


  4. Hi Lee, I loved, the first part that I've read of your book and didn't think the profanity was to much. I have a question though, how do you go about creating new characters for a story?


  5. Hallo Lee, do you have a favorite scene in the book, that you could share?

    emiliana25 at web dot de

  6. Wonderful excerpt, how do you come up with new ideas for a story?

    galaschick78 At gmail Dot com

  7. Love the excerpt :)


  8. The book sounds very intriguing. Thank you for the excerpt.


  9. I am so super intrigued by this book!


  10. Thank you for the review and excerpt.


  11. Thanks for the honest review.


  12. I always appreciate an honest review thank you. I found your review very helpful actually.


  13. I liked what I've read in the excerpts and they didn't seem to entail all that much
    profanity, but I thank you for your honest review!

    anzuazura at yahoo dot de


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