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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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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