The Angry Woman Suite

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
382 Pages
Reviewed on 05/19/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lee Fullbright's The Angry Woman Suite is also winner of The San Diego Book Awards' Mystery category, as well as the 2013 Geisel Award for "best of the best" (of the 25 categories) at the SDBA.

The Angry Woman Suite was also named a Kirkus Critics' Pick and was a Discovery Award winner.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joana James for Readers' Favorite

"The Angry Woman Suite" is quite a ride. Set in the early 1900s, it is a story of family conflict, mystery, drama and love. Young Francis Grayson grows up with a slew of women referred to merely as “the women,” consisting of two aunts and a grandmother. Unfortunately, Francis is subjected to abuse at their hands. Young Francis does not know much about his history and even the true identity of his father is kept from him. Elyse, Francis' stepdaughter, tells the story from her point of view in a rather compelling manner. A third narrator is history buff and schoolmaster, Aiden Madsen, who also plays the roles of music teacher and friend to young Francis. Francis is talented, something that runs in the family, but he lets his desire for fame get the best of him.

Filled with deceit, outright lies, anger and resentment, this book is very cleverly written, with different points of view bringing unique perspectives to the story. The characters are fully developed and easy to understand, and as the story comes together one finds oneself empathizing, loving and sometimes even hating them. The novel is quite a trip through time as the characters tell history as they see it. It seems that each character is on a quest for truth. It is hard to decipher whose version is correct, but this adds to the flavour of the whole novel. This is quite an outstanding novel and I recommend it with no reservations.

Anne B.

"The Angry Woman Suite" is the story of a “sick” family. Francis Grayson is born in Pennsylvania in 1928. He throws wild outbursts, almost to the point of calling them fits. He eventually becomes violent to the point of abusing Elyse, his stepdaughter. Elyse keeps asking herself why he’d hit her, and who was this man, her stepfather? Francis seems unable to take responsibility for anything; it is easier to blame the women who raised him for the miserable aspects of his life. His goal in life is music. He is sure that if he makes it as a musician he can leave all his troubles behind. Aiden Madsen is his guide, mentor, teacher, confidant and confessor.

The title of this book instantly caught my attention. Before I opened the book I was already speculating on its significance. I soon discovered that the title stems from a group of paintings. The plot starts out a bit subdued and slowly gains momentum. When an author weaves a story back and forth between narrators it brings depth to the story, for each point of view will be slightly skewed; this is especially true in this book, where the author not only uses three narrators but allows each to speak in varied time frames. Elyse Grayson, Frances Grayson, and Aiden Madsen are the narrators in "The Angry Woman Suite." This tale is character-driven, and Lee Fullbright is master of characterization. His characters are multi-dimensional. There were times when I didn’t like them and yet I found myself drawn to them as they were certainly never dull. It was very difficult to believe this is a debut novel; Fullbright writes like a more seasoned author.

Alice D.

Elyse Bowden Grayson is not a quiet, reserved child. She yells, has temper tantrums and her stepfather, Francis Grayson, punishes her and his scoldings are often harsh. But then Francis claims he was abused while growing up with his much older brother, mother, grandmother and two strange aunts in the old Grayson mansion near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Francis' mother is the beautiful Magdalene Grayson who posed in the years just before World War I for the famous American artist Matthew Waterston, in ten now highly valuable paintings referred to as "The Angry Woman Suite." Magdalene is always loved by Aiden Madsen, the local schoolmaster and caretaker of Brandywine historical materials, but it is Matthew's concert pianist son, James Witherspoon Waterston, who is Francis' father. James (or Jamie) is noted for his musical abilities and Francis does carry on his musical gifts for a while as an innovative band leader of the 1940's, until he is overcome by alcoholism and instability. How does marrying Elyse and sister Bean's mother, Diana, figure into the complex lives of Francis Grayson and his family?

"The Angry Woman Suite" is a brilliant, complex, complicated story about talented, complicated people. As Elyse's beloved grandfather, Papa, says, "Life is like a ship, sometimes it blows forward, sometimes backward. But when you think your life is sinking, someone rows into the harbor and tosses oranges onto your deck." This fascinating story tells of intertwined lives, some of whom survive while some do not. The characters in "The Angry Woman Suite" are well-created; neurotic tendencies, birth defects, and all. The plot is well-developed and leaves the reader with the clear understanding that creative gifts, position in society, and heritage don't guarantee a life of clear sailing. This is a story to remember!

J. Barrington

****Jean Barrington rated The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright
"The writing in the novel--htto:// is superb! The story is engrossing as well as disturbing ..." ~Goodreads


****"The Angry Woman Suite: (Lee) Fullbright's writing is rich and perceptive, full of wisdom. The story is captivating, the characters clear and real. It is one of those stories you can't put down."

~By (Santa Cruz, Cantaro Trinidad and Tobago) - See all my reviews. This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Tango Neumann

This is The Angry Woman Suite's 150th 5-STAR Amazon review:
"5.0 out of 5 stars ... Spellbinding!
I hated and loved this book. I couldn't put it down. It was mesmerizing and disturbing and thought provoking all at the same time."
Published 2 hours ago by Tango Neumann

Amanda McMahon

***** #THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE “I didn’t realize it was going to be so suspenseful!… well-written, great plot, worth the read!”-Amanda McMahon


****Absolute Delight To Read … Puts A Capital "D" In Dysfunction
Wow! There is no way I can accurately describe how much I loved reading this book. #The Angry Woman Suite (by #Lee Fullbright) is my top favorite this year and will be hard to beat. If you think your family is full of dysfunction I guarantee this family surpasses … recommended to anyone looking for a great read with lasting impact.” -Danelle
This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Becca Wilson

5.0 out of 5 stars (Amazon) "Emotion From Three Points of View! #The Angry Woman Suite @LeeFullbright "a well written piece of greatness ..." -Becca Wilson


Emotional and tragic, as the title implies ...
This review is from: #The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle
A very good read! I found it difficult to put down when the time came to sleep, often reading way past my intended bed time ... a writing style smooth and compelling ... characters fascinating in their strengths and weaknesses.

I really enjoyed the structure of the book with its many points of view. Changing narrators worked exceptionally well for this study in human nature ... a book I may very well read twice."
-By Catdoc "Superdoc"


"5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL book, The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright ... I found this (novel) to be completely fascinating and hard to put down. I wasn't sure what to expect but the characters are complex and the story really
held me ..." -by keep_learnin - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase

Vivian McNeil

"5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright ... A page turner! An exceptional story written by an exceptional writer. I will be watching for more from this author." -Vivian S. McNeil - See all my reviews

Perry Fire

"5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, #THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE ... A fascinating story about family and human nature. It kept me guessing all the way ... intriguing from the very first page."-By Perry Fire reviews


"5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, #THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE
This book is reminiscent of Steinbeck's "East of Eden;" (the) balance between good and evil. The characters are complex with each navigating his/her way. I strongly recommend it. Matter-of-fact, I may use in my classroom." -By CU394 - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase

Margaret C.

"5.0 out of 5 stars #The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright,
The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright is not just a good read; it is a must read. Primarily dealing with the fortunes and interrelations of the Grayson family of Chadds Flord, Pennsylvania, it is narrated in first person stories switching back in time, place and generations. There is the view of Aiden, historian and school teacher to several generations of Graysons. There is Francis Grayson's version as an illegitimate genius of popular music. Also narrating is Francis' stepdaughter Elyse. There are multiple mysteries evolving through the decades and finally the explosive conclusion."
-By Margaret C. - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Fabulosity Reads

THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE/ 5 STARS … The writing is superb. The imagery brilliant and Fullbright seems to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of psychosis and its different levels … this is not your average definition of crazy … it’s the type that goes on behind closed doors unnoticed or rather ignored. And then it builds members of society who are damaged and left unable to cope with life but have created just enough of a veneer to be considered ‘normal.’

And yet in all the pain that everyone carries, even by the most cheerful of characters like Elyse’s Papa, you can see the resilience of the human spirit. The will to overcome the circumstances life has given. What a book. It has left me speechless. Literally.”
–Wendy @ Fabulosity Reads

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Rosa, The Unofficial Addi

****The Angry Woman Suite, written by Lee Fullbright, will keep you on the edge of your seat … narrated by three characters, each one a defined, well-developed personality and background. The fact that this book was told from three different points of views is a WOW for me. I love books that are written in first person, but sometimes something’s missing; you don’t get the whole picture, just the one (point of view). But not here! Here you have different sides. Each character is telling his/her story, showing their demons, and if you put them all together you’ll have the whole picture.

But what I liked is not just the 3 POVs, but how the author managed to write three different stories connected to one another and do it without letting the readers lose track of the story line! I really admired this, and this was one of the reasons that made me like The Angry Woman Suite so much. I enjoyed every side of the story.

Another thing I would like to highlight about the author, besides her great ability/talent to write 3 POVs with success, is her writing: descriptive, compelling and spellbinding.

You will be sucked into this story, the perfect mix of mystery/tragedy and love.” –Rosa, The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

Ashley Cowles

"If you like any of these things: Old New England mansions, the big band era, multiple narrators with distinct voices, mystery and suspense, generational family sagas

…then you will love THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE by Lee Fullbright!

I’m a sucker for generational historical dramas, and I really enjoyed this book’s beautiful writing, literary voice, suspenseful plot, and complex characters. A story of family dynamics and (at times) abuse, this story truly reveals how “the sins of the father” impact subsequent generations ... I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that the vivid characters were what made this heartbreaking story special ..." -Ashley Cowles, A Pilgrim in Time

Eileen Maki

**** THE ANGRY WOMAN SUITE “…a touching and elegant story of life-long love, family deceit, mental illness, abuse and just living life. I immediately connected with Elyse and was touched by her devotion to her little sister, her need to protect Bean from the life chosen for them … I loved how history is woven into the thread of the story and made to be a part of the tapestry of the characters who pulled at my heartstrings and pushed me on to the last page ... a long journey that twisted and turned and came to a peaceful close.” By EileenMaki, Amazon Verified Purchase This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Kirkus Reviews

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

San Francisco Book Review

In The Angry Woman Suite, author Lee Fullbright weaves an intricate, engrossing, multi-generational story of significant depth.

This novel is told through the eyes of three characters. Aidan is a man who witnesses the consequences of terrible dysfunction between several families in a small east coast community. Francis, the product of that dysfunction, flees to the west coast and becomes the wholly unfit stepfather to the final narrator, a young girl named Elyse. The story opens with Elyse in the 1950s. From there, Fullbright slowly and masterfully moves back and forth to different times between 1900 and the 1960s to reveal the horrific story of the Grayson family and those they touched in their small community. The title of the book comes from a series of mysterious portraits that portray Francis' mother, Magdalene Grayson. However, that title could apply to almost every woman in this novel, while most of the men are depicted as damaged by that anger. To add to the richness, Fullbright liberally laces recurring references to game strategy, to a particular battle in our war for independence, and to the theme that things are never what they seem. Finally, Fullbright fills the plot with enough unexpected twists to keep the reader in suspense till the very end.

Winner of too many awards to list here, The Angry Woman Suite really should not be missed.~San Francisco Book Review