On a sweltering July morning in rural Tennessee, 50-year-old Rebecca Reynolds visits the family farm, where she literally stumbles across the mutilated bodies of her parents and younger sister, a sister who had spent life in a wheelchair after a birth fraught with complications.
Rebecca's first thought is to call 911. Her second is to find her estranged sister, Lena, who was disowned by the family years before. Her third is to wonder how long it will be before Lena is arrested for the murder of their family.
As the police gather evidence pointing to Lena, the sisters turn to attorney Brian Stone. Convinced of Lena's innocence, he agrees to take on the case. But in a family ripped apart by dysfunction, is anyone truly innocent?
©2016 Melinda Clayton (P)2017 Melinda Clayton
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Norma Miles on 12-06-18

A mirage. Something which appears real, but isn't.

A tale of two sisters and one man, each seperately damaged by the memory of their pasts. And the brutal murder of three members of one family.
Rebecca returns, as she always does, to the family farm where she grew up and finds both parents and her younger sister dead, brutally hacked to death. Kelly, the daughter, was brain damaged, requiring constant attention and Rebecca had driven the four hour journey from her work place evey weekend to assist her mother care for her and her father, who had been weakened by an heart attack. Her whole life had been one of subservience to this family care. Trapped. The third, and youngest, sister, always overlooked in the family dynamic, had left when sixteen, turned to drugs, prostitution and minor criminality to survive, so immediately became a prime suspect. When charged with the killings, Lena's defense attorney, Brian, once very good, is still grieving the loss of the only people important in his life, a married couple, his anchors until the husband murdered his wife.
None of the three main protagonists had had an easy childhood. All still lived with the results and without hope for the future.

The book is artfully written, mostly in the first person, the story driven forwards through alternating chapters from the perspectives of Rebecca, Lena and Brian. In the latter part of the book, there are also occasional short trial transcript excerpts. This device not only brings an immediacy to what is happening but also reveals the inner workings and fears of the main characters. Each becomes very real. It further allows the reader to try to determine for themselves what actually happened: did Lena kill her family, as accused? Or is there an alternative solution?

Michelle Babb's narration is superb. Each of the main protagonists have their own distinctive and appropriate voice as their story is revealed. And within their own stories, the other characters have seperate voices, too. Her reading is warm, inclusive, natural, further bringing each person to three dimensional life. A marvellous performance.

A very enjoyable listen overall, a mystery also charting the very different effects of a dystopian family on the children. Chilling, but with very little visceral gore revealed, A Woman Misunderstood should appeal to all enjoying psychological and legal mystery thrillers as well as those with an interest in family dynamic.
Both well written and narrated: highly recommended.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Sara Niña on 05-02-17

Prepare to be deceived

This book, while it wasn't as good as the first of the series, was incredible in its huge build-up of suspense. I didn't know what to think, and the ending was shocking. No better word for it.

It was a strange tale, two sisters brought up in a poor environment. Family killed, only the two sisters survive. All evidence points to Lena, the worst of the two. So, Rebecca, along with Brian (the lawyer from the first book), help the court and the jury see her innocence. A difficult task when Lena has such a terrible memory of the event.

It was strange in the sense that it was dark, eerie at parts, yet at other times this darkness was subdued giving way to a lighthearted, deceptive sense of calm. I was glad to find Brian in this book, he being my favourite from the first of this series. Though, I would say that this book can be read as a standalone, but I do recommend you read the first- I found I liked that tale better. I feel it would have been interesting to hear Brian's thoughts regarding Anna's child, or even the father of the child.

I listened to the audio book for this, it was narrated by Michelle Babb. I really liked it, it felt fitting and gave a good feel to the book. The emotion was there, as was the way that even the narration didn't give much away- in terms of the ending.

Both stories are emotional and engaging in their own way. And as with life, you can say, a lot feels unresolved. This also happens to be something true of the first of this series.

I received this book from the narrator, for review consideration.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Elisabeth Carey on 26-02-17

A compelling suspense story

Rebecca Reynolds returns to her parents' home for her weekly visit only to literally stumble over her wheelchair-bound sister's dead body.

Her parents are also dead, all three hacked to death with an ax.

She calls 911. She wonders where her other sister, Lena, disowned by the family years ago, is. And she wonders how long it will be before Lena is arrested.

It's a very effective, chilling set-up for chilling psychological suspense. We see the story through three sets of eyes--Rebecca's, Lena's, and those of the lawyer Rebecca hires for her sister (who is indeed arrested as the most likely suspect), Brian Stone.

Lena truly is the most likely suspect, and the evidence mounts against her, even as Stone becomes convinced of her innocence.

We see all three viewpoint characters develop as complex and sometimes ambiguous figures. Other characters, seen only through the eyes of these three, also become nuanced and layered.

Michelle Babb does an excellent job of narration as always, and Melinda Clayton kept me guessing till the end.

Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lynn on 27-01-18

A great who-dun-it!

If you could sum up A Woman Misunderstood in three words, what would they be?

Wait to judge

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Woman Misunderstood?

Getting to know the characters and their family.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending because you never knew that was coming!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The fact that the story was believable keeps you listening.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.

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