Thursday, 2 August 2018

MOURNING DOVE by Claire Fullerton @cfullerton3

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited after reading this review on Rosie Amber's blog and this review on Between The Lines.

Genre: Family Saga (set in Memphis).

Not my usual genre these days, but I do find the culture of the Deep South interesting, and the reviews assured me that it would be worth a read.  It certainly was; it's a fine book.  

The book starts in the late 1960s-ish, and does not have a rounded plot with a beginning, middle and end, but is more just the tale of a family's lives.  It is a first person narrative, told by Millie, who is a child at the start of the book.  Millie's mother is Posey Crossan, née Hawthorne, the archetypal Southern belle from a monied family, with all the accompanying conservative, old-style social expectations, standards and prejudices deeply ingrained within her psyche.  She is the ultimate survivor, and is beautifully drawn:

She had the kind of looks that waited in arrested development during her youth, then pounced like a cat around the time she turned forty.

She was a woman who thought ahead, who'd redirected a nurse from inflicting an innoculation shot on my infant left shoulder to the area tucked beneath my left shoulder blade so I'd look good in a strapless evening gown.

... socialising in her fabulous full-length beaver coat, deeply engaged in gossiping, which was the only contact sport that ever truly held her attention

The other main character is Millie's brilliant, charismatic brother Finley, who excels at school but chucks up any sort of 'expected' career in favour of his band; this brings with it the usual associated difficulties, as artistic clashes occur, and later the insanity of relgious cults is added to the mix.  Throughout, I could feel the clash of the old guard with the ideas and aspirations of the younger generation.

In many ways, although we hear about her circumstances too, Millie is the narrator of the lives of Posey and Finley and the life and times of those around them, standing back, as if her own tale is but a minor plot thread.  It's so well-written, and the characterisation is marvellous.

It works best if you read it in a Deep South accent, I found... and if complex family sagas are your thing, I am sure you will adore this book.



  1. Wonderful, really glad you discovered this book.

  2. Replies
    1. Sure did! It's good to take a chance on a book that's not of your usual genre, sometimes, isn't it :)