Audiobook Blog Tour | feat. a review of “Mourning Dove” writ and narrated by Claire Fullerton

Posted Sunday, 16 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Mourning Dove” via Audiobookworm Promotion in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to listen to ‘Mourning Dove’:

I have the tendency of appreciating stories set within the framework of either Southern Lit or Southern Gothic categories. There is a ease of setting and each of these stories has their own particular tone of inclusion. Southern stories reach into that void between the historical past everyone is quite familiar with and the contemporary side of where the South has attempted to outgrow its own roots.

I had previously listened to a story (Next Stop Chancey) and felt this might be as enjoyable as that one had been as it is a rambling story focused on on singular family.

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Audiobook Blog Tour | feat. a review of “Mourning Dove” writ and narrated by Claire FullertonMourning Dove
by Claire Fullerton
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Claire Fullerton

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn't know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, 18 months her senior, becomes Millie's guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie's 10th birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother's upbringing and vastly different from anything they've ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn't gold.

Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley's world, as they find their way to belonging. But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Literary Fiction, Southern Lit, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 25th June, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audioook

Converse via: #MourningDove #SouthernLit

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, "Dancing to an Irish Reel," set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers' Favorite. Claire is the author of "A Portal in Time," a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California's hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Both of Claire's novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

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my review of mourning dove:

We begin Mourning Dove through a retrospective journalling of events through the eyes of Millie who is the story’s lead narrator and key character to observe the goings on of this family’s saga. Slow, meandering and tucking into quieter moments of a family’s life – Fullerton takes ease and care to establish the fullness of her back-story by placing us in Millie’s childhood. It is here the innocent observations of a sister start to take shape before us – as one of the first declarations we hear from Millie is how indifferent she is in direct comparison to her brother Finley.

For Finley was above average for his age, skipping grades and had an articulately curious mind ahead of his years even at his younger ages. This particular family has Northern roots but were transplanted to a Southern city (Memphis) where the crust of this story takes place. Millie’s mother inserted herself into Memphis high society as an effort to make sure they formed the right ‘connections’ and were known immediately to those in the know of Memphis life and times.

Another top priority of Millie’s mother was to enroll her daughter into the Private Miss Hutchinson Girl for Schools – as it set a particular standard she felt was the only level of excellence her daughter deserved. Nevermind the fact she overlooked the rules about how to enroll her daughter, you soon find out Millie’s mother is not a woman to be reckoned with as she not just takes charge of the moments of her life, but she declares herself as a person not to fool.

Millie’s mother was never not dressed to be seen as her appearance was of crucial importance to her even if Millie missed the whole first week of school, she still found a way to command the audience of the head mistress in such a fashion as to get Millie in the front door of the school. She repeated this procedure to get her son, Finley admitted to his school. Thereby proving influence and attitude had more to do with enrollment than the rights of all students having equality of choice.

Posey (Millie’s mother) was a plucky woman who did not see herself at a disadvantaged to being single nor did she forsake her upbringing to yield to the newer ways which went unnoticed. She was of the age of the genteel mansions with servants arising to their masters calls and where children were rarely heard but readily seen. She was from that era of where knowing people meant more than your own personality where the connections opened doors or closed them, depending on which side your favour was with those who controlled the access points.

Millie did not adapt well to the Kensignton house – it was a gilt of jewelled delight to those who interacted with their mother Posey, but for children, it felt more like living in a museum where you could be yourselves. Somewhere along the route of Millie’s childhood, her father reappears in her life – his keen observation which uplifted his daughter’s spirits was the fact Millie’s father didn’t mind if his daughter was a tomboy, but her mother Posey would never have accepted it. This came out when a camping trip had to be taken with her, where only Finley and her father could take the adventure away from her as it wasn’t considered proper for a girl to tag along.

A bird comes to live with the family – influenced by the father and not entirely embraced by Posey. Posey never explained to Millie and Finley their father’s bout with alcoholism – a secret she should not have kept even if she felt she was doing what was right for her children. The distances his addiction caused between the siblings and himself was almost impossible to put back together. Their father was placed in a recovery institution where he needed to focus on himself but to a young Millie, the place itself was not on the same level of comfortability they were used too.

Shortly after the father’s struggles with addiction, Millie’s family lost everything through financial ruin – through the combined events of bankruptcy and foreclosure. Her quiet voice of reason is re-observed here – how she equates her life’s adversities against the tides of her family’s affairs is one of the enduring bits of the story. You get to hear her familiar understanding for the choices her family makes and the effects those choices have on each of them at different intervals of time. Each step of the way, Millie has to learn to overcome obstacles most children would never have to face but Millie faces them with agility and ingenuity.

One of the main events in their lives was the car accident caused by Millie’s father who was too drunk to understand the danger he had placed his family. The separation finally affected Millie and Finley – finding their father was living in the harder streets than they were accustomed. Millie’s anxiety over darkened spaces and certain rooms in the homes she slept kept with her throughout her childhood never left her and she took refuge in the sleeping porch off her mother’s room. This anxiety was one of the few clues that Millie had unspoken traumas she had to transition through without outside help or guidance from her mother.

The well of grief when you lose a parent is a gulf which cannot be crossed nor is it a gap which can be easily filled. Which was one reason I found it quite odd Posey remarried a man who didn’t seem to have an inclination of acceptance of Posey’s children. Counter to this unsettling aspect of Millie’s life she did have solace of peace within the relationship of her brother Finley. One of the best attributes of her brother’s life is how Finley understood music as it was in such a way Millie could only dream to understand herself. I had to smile when they mentioned David Bowie as I recently realised I was a huge fan of the musicians whereas otherwise I had considered I wasn’t nearly as well versed in his discography as I actually am!

Some of the issues I had with this story were a bit ironic to me when I started to think over them – as I am a dear appreciator of fellow wordsmiths who use the beautification of words to enrich our literary experiences with definitive choices which seek to excel our appreciation for literature forward. However, in this particular instance, some of the wordplay and choices of transcribing scenes with larger than life words felt a bit out of step with the humbled observations of Millie. Almost as if the narrative overlays were out of sync with Millie as a character and although the words are beautifully lovely, they tried to take the story to a higher level of composition than what was truly warranted.

I also found myself losing the ability to transition from one chapter to another – as whenever we weren’t specifically invested in the progression of the family unit – altering from Posey, Millie and Finley [or their father(s)] we were bogged down a bit in back-stories, background filler and a few tangents of secondary focuses which I found were distracting from the flow of the story itself.

What I did appreciate was the gentle easy of voice given to Millie – for she is the heroine of the story overall. It is through her eyes we were invested in seeing what befalls this family – where the dramatics of their lives are not just played out against the tides of History, as we follow them through the 1970s but theirs is a family where not everything goes according to plan. Not the security of home nor of the longevity of life.

Counter to their experiences, we have a variety of secondary characters moving in and out of the context of the story. There is a lot of terminal illness in the background as well – something I was thankful was kept at a minimum of being highlighted but still held a deeper purpose of insight as rather than focus on new life through the birth cycles of their acquaintances and relatives, this story focused more on what can go wrong in a person’s life – from circumstances, to illness and ultimately the mortality of being human.

I felt the title for this story was rather fitting as it is as if Millie herself was dove in mourning and grief over the loss of her brother – this is mentioned in the opening sequence(s) of the novel – of how of the two siblings Millie is uncertain why she has remained and Finley has soared into the next life ahead of her own journey. If you look at it from that perspective, the story itself is an offering of love, memory and critical observations to better understanding the journey of life – to seek out the purpose of the hours, to understand the inconsolation of death and to walk through grief with open eyes to the well of human emotion.

on the writing style of claire fullerton:

Quite early-on, I fell in love with the narration styling of Ms Fullerton whilst having a deep appreciation for the organic wit of her narrative! There are truisms only those who are familiar with the Southern states could attest to hearing within her musings – especially the differences inherent between the North and the South, the ingrained prejudices and the issues with transplants who with the best of intentions are never fully accepted. Just on a cursory visitation to the American South, you can denote these observational differences – even if there are hidden pockets of acceptance amongst the states in this region, everything Fullerton is depicting inside her opening bridge rings true of those of whom have travelled these roads and regions.

I had wished the pacing and the charm of the earlier chapters could have carried forward a bit more in latter ones as this audiobook started off on strong footing. Interspersed with the bits I felt took away from the main focus of Mourning Dove are lovely entreaties into the honest observational notations everyone makes on their lives. We’re treated to those life affirmations through the eyes of Millie – as her heart is observant of such strong truths, even as her character is younger – you truly get to see a fuller scope of her life’s story by having her dictating how she is feeling in the moments of crisis throughout her life.

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I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This marks my first time listening to a narration by Claire Fullerton and I believe it is the first time I’ve been able to listen to an author who narrated their own novel. Outside of the few chapter samplers I’ve overheard by authors who narrate their works of Fiction and/or Non-Fiction.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Posey: Of all the characters, I found Posey to be the most off-putting as her maternal nature is rather absent. She never puts her children ahead of her own needs and she likes to keep herself organised to the point of where individualism is a bit difficult to allow inside her world. The father of her children softened her ways but when she remarried, the harder and edgier side of her nature came back in full force.

Millie (Camille): As a young girl, Millie’s voice squeaks a bit in order to get a younger sound but as a mature woman, Millie sounds like the kind of old soul who observes the whole of her life before disclosing her musings about the purpose of it all.

Secondary characters:

Finley: (brother of lead character, Millie) Finley was a young man caught up in his generation and you can tell this by how he is brought to life through the author’s narration. He has a particular way of disarming you and giving you the impression he is several steps ahead of you but at the same time, due to his natural musical talents or the fact he isn’t grounded as his sister Millie – he has a fire inside him which cannot be tamed. His temper is foreshadowed of being what could bring his undoing – which is rather difficult to accept in some ways as even every other aspect of his life, he’s simply a young man trying to find himself in a world which is constantly evolving in front of him.

Millie’s father: A troublesome soul and a man who was lost inside his own addictive habits, but he had a kindness knit into him where he could still give his children unexpected surprises of joy. He might not have been the kind of father you would expect to find endearing but there was something about him – from the way he tried to fight through his addiction to the way he defended the rights of his daughter Millie to ‘be herself’ rather than to give into conforming to society’s expectations – he had a special role to play.

Millie’s step-father: Not the kind of character I would ever find myself warming too – the Colonial was a hardened man who did not have patience nor mind to be around children. Why he felt he ought to marry the children’s mother is a selfish act as whenever he was interacting with Millie and Finley he had an air about him as if he was better than they were and that they truly were not important to have around him at all.

How the story sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

Narrative with a Southern drawl is the best way to describe how the audiobook sounds as your listening to the context of the story.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

I am never certain if the fault in what I am hearing in the articulations of the words is the copy I am listening to of the story itself or even, a technical error with the player I use to hear the audiobooks – or rather, if the error itself is on the audiobook!? The difficulty lies in the fact these are digital audiobooks – so I would imagine errors could happen and then resolve themselves if listened to again at another point in time.

The issues I had were where some of the words being narrated were either spoken too quickly and felt mushed together or where there was a slight skipping beat in the narration as well. It’s hard to put it into words but there were a few things ‘off’ in this audiobook as I listened to it but not enough to stop it completely.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

To continue from my notes on performance, the quality of sound was affected by some of the errors I overheard as I listened to the story but not to the point where I stopped listening due to those errors which were continuing to happen.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

Hmm,.. I am uncertain where I stand on this question – as part of me is curious if I might have felt closer to the story if I had read it in print or if my main takeaway of having blocks of narrative feeling a bit droll in places would have held even if I had read the story vs listened to it. The main issue for me was the pacing – as whenever a story runs into the point where I am finding myself stepping outside of it, unable to focus on it with the full attention I had when I began – I have the tendency of noting there are errors in pacing and delivery. Perhaps too many extra tangents and not enough pull on the main characters’ lives — it was hard for me to pin down what first took me ‘out’ and what could have ‘held’ me in.

In closing, would I seek out another Claire Fullerton audiobook?

Aside from my takeaways on behalf of this story, what I did appreciate is how Ms Fullerton used her voice to give you the Southern dialect you are expecting from a story set in a Southern Lit world. She truly could have a career in giving voice and sound to Southern stories of all genres as her voice befits this style rather well. For that one reason, I would like to seek out more of her narrations.

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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Whilst participating on:

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Mourning Dove”, book synopsis, narrator biography, photograph of Claire Fullerton as well as the Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 16 September, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Siblings, The Seventies, Women's Fiction

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