Hello readers! Tonight, I have the pleasure of being a Novel Publicity Blog Tour host for Lee Fullbright’s The Angry Woman Suite, from Telemachus Press, LLC. It’s a haunting mystery about the ghosts of the past and how love, betrayal, and resentment transcend time. Perfect for a book review right before Halloween, yes? 😉
However, the picture painted–a pun you’ll soon recognize–is more beautiful than grotesque, sad than scary. Read on for more info about the book, my review, and prizes!
[Disclaimer: As with all my book reviews for Novel Publicity Blog Tours, I was provided with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.]
About the book: “They need to be exercised, hearts do … to keep them strong.” 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.
My review guidelines: As you know from my first Novel Publicity review, I HATE spoilers as a reader, so as a reviewer, I avoid them as best as possible. As a writer and an editor, I put a lot of value on the language itself used to tell a tale. A 10/10 review for me will be one with an amazing plot, characters I love, and enchanting writing. I can’t get lost in a book without falling under the spell of its words–and the spell will be ineffectual without a great plot to fall into.
With that said, please enjoy my review.
As with my last Novel Publicity book review, this novel lay outside my usual genre preference. However, the plot description and historical theme intrigued me, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Angry Woman Suite was a compelling, moving, poignant read.
I would classify this as an adult historical fiction mystery. I think the book would be most appropriate for adults, since it deals with some pretty dark themes, including abuse.
The world: The reader is fully immersed in the world, 1900-1960 Pennsylvania, from the very beginning. The society is described well, and we understand–or at least, sense–why the stakes are so high early on. The elements of painting and music are ever-present throughout the work, and they are interesting devices to transition the reader between the different eras of the story. They are also interesting metaphorical devices, representative of how the characters see each other, and how that interpretation has lasting effects on their lives. The reader him/herself, although getting first-person P.O.V., gets the distinct impression that we are viewing creations of filtered perceptions by…
The characters: These characters were very real, none perfect, each with their own talents and flaws. We are so far inside their heads that it can almost be uncomfortable to be so close to their thoughts when we know they’re doing something wrong, and that discomfort can make it hard to root for the narrators. However, we are treated with rich perspective, beautiful pieces of insight that I’ll discuss more in the “language” section–and these thoughts are often what redeem the characters to us. The characters are each unique and representative of immutable forces themselves, which are interesting to watch intertwine with each other in effect if not in physical presence.
The plot was surprising and gripping, which kept you hanging on through the heartbreak. The back-and-forth between characters and times could be a little hard to follow, occasionally, but it was an interesting and innovative way to weave the work. The pace could be a little slow at times, especially with reveals, but the telling itself was entertaining enough to keep you engaged with…
The language: I’ve been lucky, in my last two reviews, to experience such lovely rhetoric dotted by pearls of wisdom. One of my favorite quotes paints a wistful picture, setting up the entire story with just a few lines:
“It took nothing away from me, living a fairytale to put a smile on my whisper-soft mother’s beautiful face. In fact, I felt benevolent granting Mother her wish, and so I sealed…[him] inside a place in my heart, in a new and hastily structured place reserved for safe-keeping rare, unused things, things too important to toss away. / ‘You never know,’ Papa always said, ‘the things you’ll find a use for. Never, ever throw anything away, mein Liebes. Never, ever, ever.'”
The language was definitely my favorite part of the book. The themes and events of the book create a lot of sadness, but the reader gets immediate gratification for the pain with soothing, enriching insights about life and relationships–insight the reader can take away after the plot is done, like souvenirs from a trip.
Review: 7/10. Lovely and haunting. An enriching, layered, complex read.
About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite! Here’s what you need to do…
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest.
- Leave a comment on my blog.
That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Angry Woman Suite tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!
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 website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.