2023 Reviews · contemporary fiction

Book Review: Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton

Title: Terms of Inheritance

Author: Michelle Upton

Published: November 30th 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins – AU

Pages: 352

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

Four sisters. A vast fortune. And a mother who thinks she knows best …

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

A funny, moving, brilliantly observed story about letting go of the past

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.


Michelle Upton was the winner of the 2021 Banjo Prize which is presented by HarperCollins Australia. Terms of Inheritance is Michelle Upton’s debut novel. A story of family ties, personal goals, failures, achievements, relationships and honesty, Terms of Inheritance is a candid Australian contemporary fiction title.

Jacki Turner is the matriarch of her family fold, but when life throws her a curveball, she works to change the mindset of her children. Jacki is a wealthy woman and her children are all set to inherit her fortune, but they must each prove their individual worth before they receive any money. Jacki tasks each of her offspring with an individualised challenge that will ensure they both receive their money and grow as a person. Jacki’s daughter Rose is a harassed mother of three children who is given the task of publishing her own children’s book by her mother. Then there is Mel, a woman who detests exercise but is given the task of completing her first marathon. Jacki’s eldest child Isla is required to look beyond her wealthy frontage. While finally Jess must commit to a relationship that is beyond her usual expiry date of three months. Jacki’s requests of her children seem to be out of reach, adding pain and personal turmoil to each woman. Will Jacki’s daughters be able to fulfil her requests in time?

Queensland based author Michelle Upton is a new face on the Australian publishing scene and it is really great to be acquainted with the writing of this Banjo Prize shortlisted author’s work thanks to Terms of Inheritance. Funny, moving, witty, poignant and connective, it was a pleasure to spend time with the clan featured in Terms of Inheritance.

The powerhouse driving this debut novel from Michelle Upton is Jacki, the mother figure of this tale. Jacki is a bright, bold and flamboyant character who seemed to light up the pages of this story whenever she appeared. Jacki is issued with a huge life change, which she embraces with a sense of dignity and care for her children, even though they don’t see it that way. Jacki’s situation reminds us that life is precarious and short. There are moments of high emotion, despair, forgiveness, acceptance, goal setting, elation, ire and failure in Upton’s journey based novel. I was with each of the core characters as they embarked on their personal goals and I’m glad that Upton ensured that each woman had a very different challenge to attack. The way this book is written ensures that we are placed in the centre of the action, and we are made to feel as though we are an extra sibling in this tight knit family circle. The side characters are also well drawn, believable and entertaining. It was a fun to follow this crowd in general!

With themes of wealth, privilege, status quo, entitlement, personal health, sisterhood, motherhood, conflict, romance, bonds and life lessons all playing a part in this tale, Terms of Inheritance proved to be a sincere read. I cheered each of these women on in their efforts and I backed them completely in their individual quests. A story that challenges our ideals of wealth, subsistence and inheritance, I’m glad these women were able to see beyond the monetary aspect of their mother’s legacy. A stunning and sunny Gold Coast setting illuminates this tale, providing the perfect backdrop to this engaging narrative. I’m glad that I selected Terms of Inheritance to be my travel book buddy on a recent long-haul flight, it provided the perfect combination of warmth, sincerity and pleasure.

Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton was published on 30th November 2022 by HarperCollins – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Terms of Inheritance, Michelle Upton, visit here.

*Thanks extended to HarperCollins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s