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Friday, April 6, 2018

Birthright by Fiona Lowe

Title: Birthright
Author: Fiona Lowe
Publisher: 19 February 2018 by Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA
Pages: 445 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: women's fiction, contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

Australian author Fiona Lowe returns with a juicy family saga, set against the backdrop of Victoria's high country, about unforgettable characters tangled together by a wealthy inheritance, secrets and betrayal.
Is an inheritance a privilege or a right?
Does it show love? Margaret, the matriarch of the wealthy Jamieson family, has always been as tight-fisted with the family money as she is with her affection. Her eldest daughter, Sarah, is successful in her own right as a wife, mother and part owner of a gourmet food empire. But it’s not enough to impress her mother. Always in the shadow cast by the golden glow of her younger brother, Sarah feels compelled to meet Margaret’s every demand to earn her love.
Does it give security? After a poverty-stricken childhood, Anita has claimed the social status she’s worked so hard to achieve by marrying Cameron Jamieson. Although they have a comfortable life, she’s never able to fully relax, fearing everything could change in a heartbeat.
Or does it mean freedom? Ellie, the youngest, has lived a nomadic and — according to her siblings — a selfish life, leaving them to care for their ageing mother. For her, freedom means staying far away from the strings attached to her inheritance, but she needs to consider her young son’s future as well.
As their mother’s health deteriorates, will long-held secrets and childhood rivalries smash this family into pieces?
An addictive and page-turning story of the relationships between siblings and of deceit, betrayal and revenge.
My Thoughts

The premise of this book, as stated in the synopsis, ‘Is an inheritance a privilege or a right?’, is an interesting thought to ponder, especially for the Jamieson family in this particular situation. You put yourself in their shoes - are you simply entitled to the family inheritance? Should it be distributed evenly? Fairly based on recognition? What if you disagreed with the will? How far would you go to contest what you rightly thought was your entitlement?

“That it doesn’t change the fact that you made a life-altering decision without discussing it with me?”

With so much to consider from varying viewpoints, this became a long story. Perhaps a tad too long for my liking, as I felt some sections could have been shortened. Undoubtedly it is well written with a strong cast of characters who provide a most thought provoking family saga - the key word there would be provoking and I will get to that in a moment. Of course, families do not get along all the time, at the best of times, and many will relish this confronting and at times, difficult drama filled situations. In many ways it held potential as some situations or characters had recognisable dilemmas.

‘After all, who in their mid-forties, sandwiched between teenage children and ageing parents and with so many people making demands on them, didn’t crave time on their own?’

Apart from the hefty size of the tale, I struggled with a couple of other things. Firstly, these people were at times downright brutal to each other. Early on it did not sit comfortably with me but towards the end I did not enjoy how rude and confrontational they were to each other. There are some really unlikable characters here. The second thing I found difficult was the array of issues - everything from spousal affairs and vasectomies, to homosexuality and sexual abuse - just to name the main ones.  It was just too many and too much and became overwhelming and ridiculously drama filled.

Overall I enjoyed some of the story and some of the characters - I had a lot of respect for Ellie and how her part played out and would have loved to learn more about the father, Kevin. But on the whole, there was just too much bitterness for me to swallow and many characters were too difficult to connect with as their infighting went to a whole new level.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

I love the sound of this one. Thank you for the review.