Bibliophile | Michelle Upton sets the ‘Terms of Inheritance’

Terms of Inheritance
by Michelle Upton
Harper Collins

Business tycoon Jacki Turner summoned her four daughters to her Gold Coast mansion, known as ‘the castle’. The emergency family meeting was because Jacki had found out she was dying, which was difficult to believe as the only doctors Jacki ever saw were plastic surgeons.

It had been years since the sisters had been together, as Jacki had kicked each of them out of the family home when they turned 18 to find their own ways. Jacki believed that people could only appreciate wealth if they earned it themselves.

It was Jacki’s last ditch attempt to make up for her lack of mothering by making the terms of their inheritance that her daughters had to complete tasks set for them in the space of a year. These personalised tasks had been designed for them to work to be the best versions of themselves.

If even one of them failed to achieve their task, all Jacki’s vast fortune would go to Aussie Animal Rescue. She wanted them “to know what it felt like to chase their dreams, to succeed and fail, and to experience that over and over” until they reached their goals.

Rose, the exhausted mother of three, had to write and publish a children’s picture book. Exercise-hater Mel had to run the Gold Coast Marathon in a year’s time and commitment-phobic Jess had to stay in a relationship for longer than three months. Isla, the only one who had been successful with her life, had to figure out who she was beyond her wealth and status.

Meanwhile, Jacki had her own battle, as she was used to getting her own way and there was no way she was going to get the better of her illness. In facing her mortality, she had to come to terms with things that she had been able to push aside.

The daughters learn that the only way to tackle the tasks is to support each other and confront their fears. In the end, it is not so much whether the women succeed in their tasks, but that their journeys guide us to pay attention to our own lives and look at the possibilities that lay before us.

Lezly Herbert

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