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’ big band 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.
A superb debut that exposes the consequences of the choices we make and legacy’s sometimes excruciating embrace.—Kirkus Reviews
Summary & Photo provided by Novel Publicity
Length: 378 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Publication Date: March 10th 2012 by Telemachus
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.
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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.
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