Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton is the kind of feel-good read that is perfect for this time of year. While it covers some deeper themes around familial relationships and the challenges that come with them, it offers engaging and mostly likeable characters and quixotic but (at the same time) relatable ‘scenarios’.
It features four sisters – all very different, but bound in the way siblings are… or at least can be. Apologies in advance to my brother, but this made me wish I had sisters. Other versions of ‘you’. The best friends you can’t rid yourself of, who drive you crazy, know your faults and idiosyncrasies but love you anyway and always, always have your back.Terms of Inheritance
by Michelle Upton
Published by HarperCollins
Source: Harper Collins
Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction
When multi-millionaire Jacki Turner is forced to take stock of her life, she sets her daughters a challenge - in order to inherit her vast fortune, each must fulfil a task that she believes will push them to become better versions of themselves.
Rose, an exhausted mother of three, must write and publish a children's picture book. Exercise-hater Mel must run the Gold Coast marathon. Isla, the eldest, must figure out who she is beyond her wealth and status, while commitment-phobic Jess must stay in a relationship for longer than three months.
For each, Jacki's terms seem an impossible task, bringing painful wounds to the surface and straining tenuous relationships. But when the sisters are faced with an unexpected turn of events, they must learn how to move forward and forgive, or risk losing it all.
All four sisters are our narrators here, and though I felt more connected with Rose and Jess (second oldest and youngest), I probably related most to Mel.
I appreciated that the sisters are all honest about their expectations in terms of inheriting their mother’s vast fortune. They’ve taken it for granted that they will. Even Rose who’s been estranged from her mother since her husband died – unable to forgive Jacki for her lack of support at the time.
So it’s a tad confronting for them that they might lose it. Even though (at the same time) they realise their mother lives an overly-indulgent life and is very out of touch with reality. I liked that Upton has Jacki ponder on her lack of maternal interest (as opposed to – or as well as – instinct) and even though, though there’s some regret she remains pragmatic about the direction she wanted her life to take.
It’s obvious that by issuing her challenge she’s wanting her daughters to live up to the people she thinks they could and should be – though thankfully Upton doesn’t go too far down the clichéd ‘journey not the destination’ route in terms of the sisters’ pursuing their tasks. Because of course it IS obviously about their individual journeys and being pushed outside their comfort zones. For me though, it’s more about their collective journey and that they have to be there for each other in ways they wouldn’t otherwise have been.
I enjoyed this debut novel from Upton far more than I expected. It’s not saccharine-sweet – given it touches on loss, grief and guilt. Rather it’s a satisfying feel-good read that introduces us to women we can imagine as friends. (Or sisters.)
Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton was published in Australia by Harper Collins and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. And apologies for using the dreaded word ‘journey’ so much in my review. #argh