Thank you to Rosey Lee for requesting that I take part in her blog tour for Beautiful Complicated Family Volumes 1 and 2 – I haven’t been part of one for a while due to a hectic book review schedule so glad to be back in the game! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
***AD: This post contains press samples but all thoughts are my own***
Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 1 and Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 2 explore the connections that can hold people together or tear them apart. The stories in this collection capture struggles that are common in today’s families—secrets, mother-daughter conflicts, coping with aging family members, and a more subtle question of what makes a family. The issues will seem familiar to you, but there are unexpected twists when you least expect them. The relatable characters and endings may pull at your heartstrings, so don’t be surprised if you laugh or cry along the way. Like most families, the relationships in this uplifting collection consist of intricate elements. Sometimes things get messy, but it’s always beautiful. Each volume contains five flash fiction stories (very short stories of 1000 words or less each). Read each story in about 5 minutes and get Volume 2 of the collection for free using a link within Volume 1.
(Provided by the author)
Flash fiction is a style of fiction that I think is quite underrated – there’s so much in the media about full-size novels yet flash fiction and short stories, along with poetry anthologies and novellas, rarely get the same amount of attention. It’s a shame, as word count or adherence to a certain structure does not dictate quality of prose.
Although I like short stories, I don’t get to read them as much as their full-length counterparts so reading Beautiful, Complicated Family was refreshing for me. The two volumes each contain five stories which are so short that you can enjoy all five of them with one cup of tea! The majority of them are unrelated to each other yet they all focus on the theme of family relationships (family being interpreted widely here, rather than just by blood).
Generally I found each story to be an enjoyable read, with a very good structure that throws you straight into the action yet has enough time to build up characters and their relationships. Several different types of relationships are explored, from the mother and daughter who don’t meet eye to eye to the orphan girl adopted by her local church. There are only two stories that are linked, focused around two friends who have fallen out due to a romantic relationship, and I loved the way that this is done – Lee writes the second part, The Friendship PIP, as a “Performance Improvement Plan” which is so original and quirky (and she really pulls it off).
Aside from these two there were a couple from each volume that really stood out to me – To Establish Care and Vocal Rest from Vol. 1 and A Dress Rehearsal and Blossom In The Snow from Vol. 2. Each story has a feel-good ending, usually with quite a sudden or unexpected twist – I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan of feel-good (not sure what that says about my character…) so a couple of them felt slightly underwhelming to me, but for those that like a happy ending they make a great collection. I was drawn to the stories mentioned for their excellent writing style and also how clever and meaningful the endings were – To Establish Care is particularly stand-out for this. Character development was generally done really well but a couple of the stories could have been slightly longer to allow more space for this.
Beautiful, Complicated Family is a lovely collection of flash fiction and author Rosey Lee clearly has a deep understanding of the nuances that develop within family relationships. Whether you need something uplifting to read or you just want a book with fewer pages for a change, both volumes are well worth checking out.
If you would like to purchase a copy of Beautiful, Complicated Family Vol. 1 (Vol. 2 available at the end of Vol. 1) then you can do so here:
About The Author
Rosey Lee writes uplifting fiction stories about family and friendship. A native of the Westbank of New Orleans, Louisiana, Rosey is a fan of good food and a good time. As a child, she dreamed of a career in writing, fashion design, and acting. She uses the pen name Rosey Lee as she
pursues her passion for writing. Her alter ego is a physician who has dedicated her career to individual and community-based approaches to health equity. She enjoys cooking, flower arranging, listening to live music, and occasional bursts of fanatical bargain shopping.
Rosey’s flash fiction has appeared in Necessary Fiction, Bending Genres, Barren Magazine, Turnpike Magazine, The Wellington Street Review, and elsewhere. Her work has also been nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net anthology.
(Provided by the author)
Do you read flash fiction as well as standard-size novels? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin! You can read some of my other reviews of books exploring family relationships here: