But that was the difference. Daddy’s nerves and Mother’s plays for attention were serious game-playing tactics, and with high stakes. Challengers’ moves were limited to staying silent and keeping watch.
And binding up the heart.
The words belong to Elysse, the precocious little girl (five years old at the beginning of this memory) whose voice begins The Angry Woman Suite, by Lee Fullbright. From Elysse’s recollections of an eccentrically accented childhood, we are led through other threads by other voices, to the heart of a complex, non-linear story which is, by turns, heartbreaking and hopeful.
This is one of the few books I have read that has multiple protagonists. There is Elysse, the little girl who loves her Papa most of all and may have been abused by her step-father. She is followed by Francis, the sensitive, blame refusing artist, waylaid on his way to greatness by changing tastes and responsibilities. Third and last we hear from Aiden, the honest historian of more than the Civil War and, perhaps, the most trustworthy voice of the three. The three narratives are woven together in a way that can be momentarily confusing, yet is eminently logical. Each new voice takes up the thread from some detail of the previous speaker until we find ourselves, finally at the end, knowing all, sad and hopeful at the same time.
Francis always wanted to believe every story was about him. Don’t we all think every story is about us? How many of us ever consider we’re supporting players in somebody else’s story?
At its heart, this is a story of family and its capacity for both cruelty and grace, told from three distinct perspectives. And there is a surprising depth of characterization for a novel with three narrators. We learn slowly who can be trusted and who cannot, just as one does in life.
As well as she paints the main characters, Fullbright does not neglect the supporting cast. She mixes just the right amount of light and shadow to give each one all the dimension of a Picasso, without the surrealism. It is rare for me to be deeply concerned about background characters, but in this novel, I couldn’t help it. I watched Papa grow older with concern and grieved over Stella’s mistreatment as much as I did for Elysse’s problems. It is, in fact, the dilemmas and heartaches of the supporting cast that explicate the decisions, both positive and negative, of the major players, and Fullbright never forgets the importance of that interplay.
In The Angry Woman Suite, Fullbright has woven a labyrinthine tapestry of plot and subplot with the skill and artistry of a master weaver. In doing so, she has created a book that will enfold you and keep you flipping pages long past midnight. Happy reading.
Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite? Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Angry Woman Suite tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
About the author:
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. Connect with Lee on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.
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