BOOK CLUB: Birthright

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Author: Fiona Lowe
ISBN: 9781489246745
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Fiona Lowe is a prolific Australian author and Birthright is her thirtieth novel. Her writing craft was honed writing romances until she decided to tackle bigger stories, broader subjects and the possibility of not so happy endings. Now Fiona Lowe writes contemporary Australian family drama sagas, we read Daughter of Mine this time last year and I loved it, so was thrilled to be able to offer Birthright.

Birthright brings us the story of the Jamiesons, an ageing mother and her three children. Margaret Jamieson is the wealthy matriarch whose health is deteriorating and that leaves minds to wander to the legacy she will leave behind.

The declining health of the head of a wealthy family offers endless story scenarios, and I’m sure that the minefield of inheritances is something that many will be able to relate to. A lot of the time it isn’t until after the passing that the claws come out as everyone fights for what they believe is their rightful share of the family estate. Sometimes the infighting starts in anticipation and that makes for addictive reading.

Margaret Jamieson may be the matriarch but she has always enjoyed her role as family puppet-master as well. She has three very different children and the thought of a hefty inheritance unearths long held childhood sibling rivalries, secrets and betrayals. Lowe will keep you guessing, and compulsively turning pages to see if the bonds of family can withstand the lure of wealth.

Wills and inheritance raise a lot of questions, and sometimes a lot of bitterness. Is an inheritance a right of birth or a privilege earned by the benchmarks of the person bequeathing it? Does the esteem you are held in have a direct relationship with the size of the inheritance? Does it offer or withhold security or freedom? These are all questions that are often bandied about in a time where emotions are already running high with grief and loss leaving a family raw. The perfect breeding ground for bitterness, resentment and feuding.

I look forward to locking myself away with Birthright sometime very soon, but in the meantime 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members are already reading Birthright thanks to Harlequin, so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

Birthright is available now through Harlequin and from Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.


19 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Birthright

  1. Fiona Lowe returns again with another brilliant family saga. Margaret is the matriarch of the family. Her three adult children are very different – Sarah, the eldest is partner in a very successful business with her husband Alex, Cameron is married to Anita and is convinced that money is the key to happiness, and Ellie, the youngest who chooses to live a somewhat alternative life with her young son Noah.

    Margaret has always been a very domineering woman and expects to be treated as a queen. Unfortunately her health is deteriorating and she is becoming forgetful and demonstrating actions that are way out of character. Cameron is the first to pick up on this and wants to make sure that the inheritance he believes should be his is not in jeopardy. Sarah’s marriage is breaking down, her children are keeping a secret from their parents and long ago revelations are being discovered. Ellie has been distanced from the family for a number of years because of her past.

    This is a big book, but did not seem like it as I kept turning those pages. The story is riveting and back stories of all the characters is fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed Fiona’s last book Daughter of Mine, and this one is just as good, if not better. An outstanding depiction of Women’s Fiction. Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for the complimentary copy of this book for review.

  2. An absolutely enthralling book by amazing author Fiona Lowe in Birthright.
    I was very happy when this novel arrived with it being a good chunky sized book which I could sink my teeth into, and I certainly wasnt wrong
    . Once I started this novel it was a couple of late nights for me.
    A great family saga featuring domineering mother Margaret and her 3 children Sarah, Cameron and Ellie all who have very different personalities and lives.
    When Margaret’s health begins to decline we see the family dynamics come in to play and secrets and relevations about family members are brought forth.
    I highly recommend Birthright by Fiona Lowe . It is a highly enjoyable read that once you start you wont want to put down.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for allowing me to read and review this wonderful novel.

  3. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for Birthright by Fiona Lowe to review.

    This is the story of a family matriarch Margaret who’s husband passed away years ago. She is definitely head of the family, but lately has been acting not so much like herself.

    She has three children. Sarah and her husband Alex have a successful business and three children. Things are not going so well and there are secrets here. Cameron is married to Anita and they have two girls. They seem to be very loving and while they don’t earn as much they seem to be going fine. Elli has a son Noah and has kept away from their home town.

    As Margaret has a few more issues the family start thinking about their possible inheritances, what they think they deserve and how they can get it. There are secrets to be uncovered especially in looking after Margaret and her house.

    It was good to see how everything played out, as it doesn’t always go the way people have planned.

    I would definitely recommend this book, especially for anyone interested in family dynamics – and what they can learn.

  4. Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to review” Birthright” by Fiona Lowe.

    I was sure I would enjoy this book before I even started reading, as I loved the comment quoted in the preface “Where there’s a will, there’s a relative- Roger Karshner “.

    Margaret Jamieson is the matriarch of the family. She has been a widow for 26 years.
    She has 3 children.
    Sarah ( oldest child) is married to Alex, she and her husband have a successful business. They have 3 children.
    Cameron ( middle child and beloved only son) is married to Anita. They and their children have recently returned to live near Margaret and become involved in the family.
    Ellie ( youngest and rebellious),now a single Mum has taken a job close to her home town.

    The story is about this family. Margaret has lots of secrets and lies. How these have affected her three children become apparent as you get deeper into the book.
    Margaret’s health deteriorates, Sarah’s perfect life unravels, Cameron……well is he really the golden child! Ellie needs to face the demons she has been running from.
    The really big question children want to know as an older parent faces uncertain health………What is in the Will.
    I enjoyed how Sarah, Ellie and Anita dealt with the issues life threw at them and the strength they each had by the end of the book.

    I initially found it hard going, but once I sorted out who was who in the families I found it an enthralling read. I highly recommend this book.

  5. Birthright by Fiona Lowe

    When I started reading Birthright I found it hard to get into and thought that it was going to be a very long book to get through but once I had worked out all the characters and read the first few chapters I had completely changed my mind and found it hard to put the book down.

    The story about Margaret who has been widowed for 26 years, the mother of her family of three adult children. Sarah the eldest who is a partner in a very successful business with her husband Alex. Cameron who is convinced money is the key to happiness and his wife Anita and Ellie the youngest who lives an alternate life with her young son Noah.

    As Margaret starts to age her health starts deteriorating, she is starting to forget things and starting to do things way out of character for her. Cameron especially notices the changes in his mother and starts to take advantage of this so that he can benefit financially from it as he believes he should inherit the most from his mother’s Will. Sarah’s marriage breaks down and she finds out things from her past to do with her parents that she tries to deal with on her own so that she does not upset her siblings. Ellie on the other hand has distanced herself from her family and they believe that she has been selfish leaving them to care for their aging mother, but Ellie needed to consider her son Noah first.

    In the end it was really Sarah, Ellie and Anita that dealt with all the issues life threw at them and the strength they each gained from each other to get through the tough times and see how everything played out in the end.

    Would highly recommend to anyone who loves a great read about family dynamics.

  6. This book turned out to be a really great story of family secrets, betrayal and lies. I despised Margaret from the start and Cameron matched her bitter, nasty personality too. It really unfolds into a great story in the end once everything is out in the open. Loved Ellie and how her story unfolded and all the people who came together in the end. This also took me a few chapters to really get into and know each character but once I did I couldn’t stop reading till the end.
    A very satisfying read and a storyline that kept me hooked.
    Thanks for this book as it just goes to show how people in real life can act as well.

  7. Birthright by Fiona Lowe is an entertaining read on family values, trust, deception and lies!

    All families have secrets and the Jamieson’s are no exception. As the wealthy mother of three children, Margaret does not like to part with her money, so when her health starts to deteriorate, the issue of wills and inheritance is brought to the forefront. Her eldest daughter, Sarah and only son, Cameron have always had their differences and never seen eye-to-eye since they were young, and then there’s the youngest daughter, Ellie who both Sarah and Cameron believe to be selfish.

    Admittedly, I found this hard to get into at the start but once I was a quarter into the book, I found it much easier to understand the characters and who they each were. As I read further into the book, the storyline had me engrossed and I needed to keep reading to find out more about the family’s secrecy, lies and deception. I was very interested to see how the relationships of all involved would turn out.

    Congratulations to Fiona Lowe for her great storyline and excellent story-telling. I have also read Daughter of Mine by the same author so am keen to read more novels by this talented author.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review this book. I recommend it as a great book to read.

  8. I started this book yesterday afternoon after lunch, and by 11pm last night I had finished reading it!

    Birthright is a fascinating story about Margaret, a narcissistic, aging mother of 3 grown children. Her deteriorating state of mind not only brings hidden secrets and lies about the family to light, but also ignites old sibling rivalries, insecurities and the battle for inheritance.

    I found the story engrossing, extremely well-written and emotional. Exploring the intricacies of family, relationships, death, wealth, betrayal and inheritance was thought-provoking and captivating.

    I 100% recommend this book!

  9. Birthright is the second of Fiona Lowe’s books that i have had the pleasure to read. I enjoy her writing style as she shows you many different ways of looking at the one situation. Many times some people are missing some of the details so they have a totally different opinion to others which makes things very interesting. In this book she shows us that even without really meaning to we judge others based on the information we have at hand and sometimes with our hopes for what we long a person to be. Often our judgments can be wrong.
    Birthright shows us the battle that brews between 3 siblings when their mother’s health starts to decline and she becomes vulnerable to manipulation. Something that is becoming more and more a problem in our society where the elderly are being abused and no longer treasured as they should be. Elder abuse is something that comes in many different forms but each one of them is just as ugly as the next.
    This was a lovely long read that I wanted to keep reading and hated putting down when it came to cooking dinner and bedtime.

    This is a book that does cover various forms of abuse that might be a tigger to some people so a caution is issued.

  10. Birthright is a great read that delves into the disappointedly common dispute amongst families and estates, it took me a little while to get into the storyline thinking it was just another run of the mill domestic drama but once I got into the differing sibling relationships I was intrigued as to how they would all develop.

    This story kept me hooked emotionally throughout, being frustrated with the treatment of the lead character by what it seems is everyone in her family, rejoicing in the bonding between sisters and sisters in law and my soul was kept a little bit happier with the ending (but no spoilers!)

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to review, would recommend this book for those that like sibling rivalries, a bit of intrigue and a local setting.

  11. Birthright

    What a great read! Love the way Fiona Lowe tells a gripping family saga with this one being set in Victoria’s high country.

    Birthright tells the story of the privileged Jamieson family. A family tree is needed as there are a lot of family members but once you know who’s who the characters really do come to life on the page. The family has a lot going on, as well as a lot that has gone on in the past and it is all now coming out. Secrets are being discovered and family members are disputing about property and money.
    The matriarch of the family Margaret is a real piece of work she is now ageing and the power she holds over the family is swaying. Her husband Kevin who died many years ago was well respected but there was no love lost in the marriage.
    The children adored their father but had a love hate relationship with their mother who saw that everything was about her, money and power.
    Eldest daughter Sarah and her husband Alex own a gourmet food empire and have three children Finn, Emma and Gus. Sarah and Alex’s marriage is on the rocks and Sarah is confused and angry. She is the go to person for her mother but gets little thanks for all she does.
    The favoured child is son Cameron and Margaret does nothing to dispel this favouritism. He is very much like his mother and is not liked by his sisters or the community. His wife Anita has had a hard upbringing and she loves the style she is being kept in but she does have morals and sometimes her husband can go too far. They have 3 daughters two at boarding school in Melbourne where they had lived until Cameron a real estate agent decided he needed to be closer to ‘home’ and his mother so he could control her and her finances.
    Ellie is the youngest daughter and a single mum to Noah. She is supposedly the wayward child who was sent to boarding school and never wanted to come home or have anything to do with the family but there are secrets lying deep in her early life and why she doesn’t want to have anything to do with her family. Ellie has a lot of baggage but coming back to the area due to work opportunities brings a new phase to her life. Can she finally become part of the family.

    Secrets, drama, infidelity and lots of betrayal . This is truly a great read. I literally couldn’t put it down. 5/5

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review.

  12. Birthright, the latest distinctly Australian family saga set piece from Fiona Lowe, marks my second outing with this popular author. After reviewing my first book from the established romance author, Daughter of Mine  last year, I was very pleased to be gifted with the opportunity to review Birthright for Beauty and Lace Book Club.

    Birthright raises an important question that strikes right at the nucleus of family entitlement. Should  inheritance be considered a god given right or a gift? Since I discovered the writing of Australian author Fiona Lowe and I joined her enthusiastic readers group, I have been looking forward to delving into the pages of her latest enthralling family saga. The high expectations I had going into Birthright were fulfilled, it was a welcome experience to spend my entire weekend with Ms Lowe and the rather complicated Jamieson clan! It took a little while to get into the beginning of this novel. I was almost a quarter of the way through before I felt satisfied with my understanding of the character set. A family tree with a list of the characters and their partners, as well as offspring at the opening of the novel may have assisted in my initial connection to this book.

    Fiona Lowe’s life previous to being a fully fledged writer, working in the community health field, has put her in good stead for composing her rich family saga based novels. Lowe has a solid grasp on what makes families tick. She inherently knows what makes family units both thrive and fall to pieces. We witness this in the proceedings of Birthright. There were plenty of feuds surrounding these characters, as well as surprising secrets that were revealed and some entrenched feelings of resentment. I never knew what I was going to encounter next with the Jamiesons. It made for one highly addictive read!

    I am certain Birthright will appeal to a wide audience. The main subject matter is an aspect of life and society that many have encountered. Personally, issues of inheritance have touched my own family and resulted in a permanent family estrangement. While I have also witnessed at number of inheritance claims disputed on my in laws side that rattled me to my core. The mind boggles as to the way people change once money is involved. It is a sad fact, but Lowe has her finger on the pulse in her examination of an inheritance being considered as a ‘birthright’.

    Those who have experienced Lowe’s novels in the past have a fair idea of how she is able to expertly weave her narrative around a rich and natural Australian setting. Birthright is no exception, I basked in the luscious descriptions of the Victorian setting of Birthright. This aspect of the novel proved to be of great joy to this particular reader and I am sure it will offer the same response to all readers of this book.

    Lowe’s approach to her characters is one of care and attention. Each character is incandescent, their individual light shines bright, but they are not without their flaws, which gives each an air of authenticity. The interplay that arises as a result of their complicated relationships and back histories gives much weight to this novel. The characters issue Lowe with enough fertile ground to cover serious issues such as elder abuse, sexual abuse, homosexuality, terminal disease and marital affairs. All these broader issues result in plenty of high drama, which plays out under the backdrop of the central inheritance tussle.

    When the final page of Birthright was turned, a sense of relief and satisfaction washed over me. I think despite the fact that some of these characters behaved in a quite despicable way, they ultimately got what was coming their way.

    The question of wealth is always a contentious issue and Fiona Lowe explores this subject area with great insight, wrapping the resulting family story up in one engrossing and highly readable novel. Birthright is one novel I would not hesitate to recommend to fans of Australian novels and those of love involving family saga style novels. I’m keen to order more from the talented Fiona Lowe.

    *I wish to thank Beauty and Lace Book Club/HQ Fiction for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  13. Birthright by Fiona Lowe was a good book to read. The storyline involved an aging strong minded mother and her three children, who all have very different ideas as to how the mother needed to be cared for as she aged. Each child seems to have their own personal agenda as regards their mother and her assets, and family secrets that have been hidden from each other. It is a perfect example of how families can turn against each other when a large sum of money is dangled in front of them!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace book club and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review this book

  14. Birthright opens on Mother’s Day and anyone who has had a Mother’s Day that has been a little disappointing will immediately connect with Sarah.
    Sarah is the oldest of the three Jamieson siblings. She is always trying to please her mother who must always be the centre of attention. Cameron, the middle child, is the mother’s favourite and she makes this fact very clear. Ellie is the youngest, estranged from the family for many years, she has recently moved back to the area.

    Lowe has written a compelling family drama that includes many themes that faced by families everywhere; the struggle to look after your own children and an aging parent, sibling rivalries that spill over from childhood into adulthood, marriage breakdowns and family secrets.

    As the story deepens and secrets emerge the characters reveal their true selves and motives.
    I absolutely devour family sagas, immersing myself in their lives, their battles, their loves and their secrets. Birthright doesn’t disappoint. I swept through the story involving myself in the family, it’s ups and downs.

    There is nothing dysfunctional about this family until you peel back the layers of respectability and display the hidden secrets.

    Birthright is morbidly fascinating and heart-achingly sad. Inter-weaved between the betrayals, accusations and confessions is a beautiful love story.

    My only complaint is the teenage son swore in front of his mother and was not reprimanded. The father then says the same word – not cool.
    4.5 stars

  15. I can see that this is a good book, and would recommend it. But for me, I did not relate to the mother’s day and mother daughter or sibling rivalry for some reason, and not expecting any inheritance, Parts such as the secret vasectomy, just made me feel terribly sad, that the couple did not discuss it, that such big decisions could be made without love and understanding. I did not know how to feel about it. I am not sure why exactly but if felt a bit uncomfortable to me. The book is well written though, easy to read and I imagine that most people would enjoy it more than me.

  16. Sorry, I was not so keen on this book, it is a good, well written story, but just not for me this time. I would like to thank Beauty and Lace and the publisher Harlequin books for the chance to read it and I have actually passed it on to a lady in the office and she loved it for the reasons I did not like it so much, so there you go!

  17. Family drama, dilemmas, saga and a roller coaster ride involving money, mayhem , inheritance and even greed. The author delivers a well penned read,, not really my type of story however. But I was invested enough to finish it till the end.

    The settings put forth were well envisaged and filled to the brim with great imagery.

    I really enjoyed being able to see the descriptions within the pages. The characters well defined , and delivered, not all likeable by any means but some indeed so.

    The epilogue is nicely finished , giving us an ending that you can relate to after reading. Everything is tied and final.

    If you like dramatic family drama, nit picking and bickering you will enjoy this read. 😀 lol

    Many characters you will dislike and others , you will enjoy.

    The story certainly touches the subject of entitlement, and grown adults acting like spoilt children. This part was my least favourite.

  18. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin publishing for another fun read. 3 Stars. The style is lively and female, with lots of characterisation around the interaction between female family members, mother and daughter etc and what it is like to be woman in the modern world. I was drawn in quickly, as the characters unravel, as Margaret becomes a focus, and the money! The tussle over the will (no spoilers) and who knew what. I think we all can see a bit of ourselves or someone we know, in the thoughts shared. Bad stuff happens, good stuff happens and ultimately families lie and cheat repeatedly. When you throw the money in that makes assumptions about inheritance double the trouble. I did enjoy the read, and will recommend the author.

  19. I really enjoyed this book, when I was reading it my husband didn’t dare interrupt!

    I didn’t know if I had feeling for any of the main characters at first but as the book went on they built on to you, it was very hard to know who to trust!

    Without giving it away i am glad Anita ended up where she did and everyone who deserved to be happy, was! Very enjoyable read!

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