Where to begin with this delicious novel about a VERY dysfunctional family and some secrets that last a lifetime. The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright is told by three primary characters: Aiden Madsen, Elyse Grayson and Francis Grayson. The Graysons are a mysterious family led by Lear Grayson and his demanding wife Elizabeth. Together, they have three daughters – the beautiful (and wickedly insane) Lothian, the mysterious Magdalene, and the “disfigured” Stella (who is sometimes a public mystery herself). Everything that happens in this novel has to do with these three sisters – especially Lothian and Magdalene and their hatred of each other.
Francis Grayson is the youngest son of Magdalene, who is taken under Aiden Madsen’s wing. Aiden is a former teacher of Lothian and Magdalene, who becomes enthralled and somewhat obsessed of the adult Magdalene. Francis, tortured by his aunt Lothian is desperate to escape his family’s manor – and once he finds his way out, he never wants to turn back. As an adult, Francis is a big band trumpet genius who has troubles shifting to newer genres of music hitting the scene and over time loses his self in his former (and short-lived) fame. Francis is continually haunted by his time with his mother and aunts and it’s a repetitive theme throughout the novel.
Elyse, Francis’ adopted daughter, is the youngest person caught in this family’s web of strangeness. She begins as a victim of Francis’ abuse, and grows into an adult learning how to “play the game” just to survive the focus of Francis’ hatred of his past.
Not only do we dive deep into the very complicated inner workings of the Grayson family, but we also learn how their family impacts others close to the them, and how that can have painful and deadly ramifications on everyone involved. This is a pretty complex book because it’s sometimes hard to follow everyone’s point of view and the way they fit into the Grayson puzzle. But if you can navigate those waters successfully, you’ll find a story full of deep family secrets that you won’t be able to put down.