The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright


The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Genre: Historical Psychological Mystery
Length: 382 pgs
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Rose

Secrets and lies suffuse generations of one Pennsylvania family, creating a vicious cycle of cruelty in this historical novel that spans the early 1900s to the 1960s.

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.

A superb debut that exposes the consequences of the choices we make and legacy’s sometimes excruciating embrace.

The Angry Woman Suite tells the story of a family through multi-generations–a family linked not by blood but by something deeper. Superbly written with a complex plot, it begins with Elyse trying to make sense of why her stepfather is the way he is–and what in his background made him that way.

The story is told through the points of view of three very different people–each in their own time– and through the pages of a diary.

Not only multi-generational, it is multi-leveled…. this is a book that will probably take more than one reading to fully comprehend. There are many mysteries and secrets, and the author, purposefully, leaves the ending ambiguous. It’s richly drawn with artists and musicians; historians and writers–all trying to express the truth as they see it. And, that is the key, I think, to the book…. seeing the truth as the different characters see it is a clue to what the truth really is.

The Angry Woman Suite is a book with depth and complexities not often seen in the genre. Recommended for mystery lovers who enjoy complexity and a book outside the norm.


  1. Thank you for hosting today

  2. Thanks for the review!

  3. Lee Fullbright says:

    Thanks so much for hosting me and The Angry Woman Suite, and for the wonderful review!!

  4. Thank you for the review, I like complex stories but it takes me a while to finish them.

  5. Great review, I love complex stories and this one sounds like just the book for me!


  6. A extremely good review. This book sounds very good.

  7. Good review, I agree with you that the reader should enjoy complex characters.
    Did you had any bad reviews Lee?


  8. Lee Fullbright says:

    Hi Emiliana, Nice to hear from you again. Have I had any bad reviews? I’ve been very fortunate, in that the majority of reviews have been very good (The Angry Woman Suite is holding at 4.1 at Amazon and Goodreads) … but, sure, the world is a subjective place, and there all kinds of readers and preferences. For instance, there’ve been a few comments along the way that TAWS is sad and hard to read; other readers have said the story gets its pacing and tension from its structure, and it’s end point is ultimately hopeful (for Elyse, which was my intention all along)—so there you go: same book, opposite ends of the spectrum. In the end, like most novelists, I write what I like to read, which is stuff that’s really meaty and, thankfully, a lot of readers like “meaty,” too! Your questions are so good!

  9. Lee Fullbright says:

    Hope you give it a try, Momjane (love that handle)!

  10. Lee Fullbright says:

    Hi Shadowrunner, I hope it IS the one for you! 🙂

  11. It sounds like a great book and I like to read the more darker books that explore the human psyche, so this one sounds perfect!

    lyra.lucky7 AT gmail DOT com

  12. Chelsea B. says:

    I am so completely excited to read this book. I can’t wait!


  13. That was a very nice review.

  14. Mary Preston says:

    Sometimes I enjoy a read that gives me more. A story I need to unravel for myself.


  15. Karen H in NC says:

    Thanks for your review.

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  16. Thanks for the review! This book kinda reminds me of the movie Inception, you have to see (or read) it more than once to fully understand it.


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