Book Review: Birthright by J Anne Fullerton

“Heritage has its price.

For centuries, werewolves have been condemned to live in the shadows. Now, in a Victorian world of steam machines and gas lights, sheep farmer Nick Buchanan unwittingly finds himself married to a werewolf. His new wife, Agatha only wanted to escape a life of torment, not realizing that a greater destiny was her birthright. They will have to overcome one werewolf’s legacy and the madness of another to keep Australia from being thrown to the wolves. In sickness and in health, for better or worse, they are on the road to redemption for all werewolves.” (From the back matter)

Fullerton has managed to weave a tapestry of love and hate, joy and fear all while leading us around 19th century Australia. Birthright is an engrossing tale about Agatha, who migrates to Australia from the western hemisphere, at the invitation of a marriage broker. With her comes a fair amount of emotional baggage and a tremendous secret she struggles to conceal. In no time at all, her new-found happiness is threatened as the fabric of her secrets begins to fray. Fortunately, she has a very loyal support network who will do anything to support her. That’s not to say she doesn’t acquire an enemy or two along the way! This beautifully written tale will be sure to keep you glued to the page (or screen) right up to the last page.

Initially, I expected to find the same old retelling of the fantasy creatures’ tales. What I found was a richly plotted yarn with very well developed characters I really cared about, that drew me in quickly and held me. Her exploration of societal mistreatment of minorities was seamlessly integrated into the story without being ‘preachy’. I rooted for the protagonists and held a deep-seated hatred for the antagonists. I lived this story, page by page!

At the conclusion, Fullerton very neatly and unhurriedly tied up all loose ends so the story ended in a very satisfying way. Now I’m finished reading, I miss the ‘friends’ I made and I sure hope to read a sequel very soon!

I unhesitatingly give Birthright five big stars and recommend in the strongest possible terms that everyone read it, it’s just brilliant!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And, how about a little information about J Anne Fullerton? She was good enough to share this with me:

To paraphrase my father, “I write for my own amusement and everyone else’s amazement.”

I’ve always been a storyteller. Even as a small child, I would follow my mother around the house, reading from whatever happened to be at hand. I had imaginary friends. I dreamt of other worlds and creatures that would inhabit them. When I lived in Alaska as a kid, I was an uber tomboy, always outdoors making up adventures.  We moved to Colorado when I was in junior high and I met friends with the same vivid imagination. I suddenly became a complete shut in, writing like there was no tomorrow. That started me down the path I am on today, with more than twenty years’ worth of storytelling under my belt, but nothing to show for it. Publishing had never appealed to me. I kept my stories to myself and my friends.

What changed?

I was fed up with my real world job and decided to go the way of so many talented wordsmiths and get published. I let go of my fear of success and dove in. I went with self-publishing to start with to get myself out there. I’m not afraid of rejection notices.  I just wanted to get into print sooner rather than later.

Birthright is my first novel. A word of explanation about how it happened.

I believe in signs. The universe will tell you when you’re on to something. My stories are written first as movies in my head. I cast them, score them, the whole nine yards. It helps me to visualize what’s going onto paper if I can hear the dialogue and envision the actors as the characters. It makes them more visceral and genuine to me, and I hope to my readers. I’m always looking for actors/actresses to inspire me. In ’93 I saw Jurassic Park and thought Sam Neill was terrifically talented. So I decided if I was to write something for him, what character would I want to see him play? My lifelong fantasy with werewolves gave me a great idea. Think of the tension and drama that would come from an Australian sheep farmer marrying a werewolf. I had the basic premise, a couple characters, but nothing more. It went nowhere until this past winter. For some reason, seeing him in JJ Abram’s ill-fated Alcatraz sparked the blaze that propelled me into a four hundred page love story about werewolves taking over Australia. Think Country Life (or Man from Snowy River for American audiences) meets Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, but it’s really something far more original and groundbreaking. I guess inspiration truly comes from unexpected sources.

So now I’m working on the second book in the Shepherd’s Moon Saga, as well as an entire series of books about American ghost towns with paranormal histories, a steampunk novella set in another world and a whole mess of short stories. Someday I’ll be able to quit my day job, which is actually an evening shift.

There you have it, my history as an author in a nutshell that’s a little cracked.


About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. For seven years, he lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook. These days, you can find him back stateside, still filling notebooks.
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6 Responses to Book Review: Birthright by J Anne Fullerton

  1. Thanks again, Jim. FYI, Birthright will be available in August at all major online book sellers. Keep an eye out!


  2. Great interview, Jim. I want to read this book!


    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks for coming by Mary, I promise you’re gonna love this book! I couldn’t put it down (in a manner of speaking). Still not accustomed to these new eBooks…


  3. Pingback: Book Review: Birthright by J Anne Fullerton «

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