Readers' Favorite Five Star Review
Readers' Favorite awarded Mourning Dove the
2018 bronze medal in the Southern Fiction category.
Mourning Dove was awarded top honors with the Words on Wings award by Literary Classics: 2018 Book of the Year.
Mourning Dove won the 2018 Independent Book Publishers silver medal award in regional fiction (Southeast)
Dancing to an Irish Reel
A Portal in Time
"Finley fascinated me. I used to study him—the way he walked, the way he talked, the way the air changed around him. He was absolutely something. But here’s what bothers me -Finley’s in heaven, and I don’t know why. "
Millie Crossan loves Finley, her golden, blue-eyed brother who hung the moon. What she can't understand, however, is why he died so young.
Reminiscing on a fractured childhood that began in Minnesota and dovetailed into Memphis, Millie ponders how she and Finley navigated the social mores of their mother’s native land as outsiders in a singing milieu that glittered in the south’s cultural nuance. In this manicured world, little is as it seems, yet Finley is so gifted with charisma and insight that together, brother and sister find their way to belonging.
But what mysterious elements shape fate into a life? And how can siblings share a history, yet come to such disparate ends?
Dancing to an Irish Reel
Dancing to an Irish Reel is contemporary fiction and tells the story of twenty five year old Hailey Crossan, who takes a trip to Ireland during her sabbatical from the Los Angeles record business. While on the trip, she is unexpectedly offered a job in the Irish music business that is too good to turn down, so Hailey stays.
Although Hailey works in Galway City, she lives in the rural area of Connemara, a land steeped in history as well as an area famous for its Irish traditional music. When Hailey meets a famous Irish traditional musician named Liam Hennessey, a confusing relationship begins, which Hailey thinks may be the result of differing cultural nuances, for Liam is married to the music, and so unbalanced at the prospect of love, that he won't come closer nor completely go away. And so begins the push and pull of an attraction that Hailey struggles to decipher. Thankfully, a handful of local friends come to her aid, and Hailey comes to love and understand a land and its people with more charm than she ever imagined.
Claire Fullerton’s second novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set in Connemara, Ireland tells thestory of 25 year old American, Hailey Crossan, who leaves the record business in Los Angeles and relocates to the beautiful west of Ireland, where she is befriended by a lively cast of Irish locals who help her navigate her budding romance with a famous Irish musician, who won’t come closer, nor completely go away.
One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.
For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed.
When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia revisits the life she’d tried to outrun.
As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years.
Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.
Little Tea was a finalist in the Faulkner Society's international William Wisdom Competition in the novel category
It is currently on the long list of the Chanticleer Review's Somerset Awards.
Available at Bookstores
A Southern Season
Claire's novella, Through an Autumn Window, is included as one of four novellas in the book, A Southern Season. The book was released in November 1, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.
A Portal in Time
A paranormal mystery written in two-time frames, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular place, is it coincidence, or have we lived before?
by Claire Fullerton
Little Tea by Claire Fullerton takes readers on a journey of betrayal, young romance, friendship, and racism in the '80s. Ava, Celia, and Renny had been friends since they were thirteen years old. Years after, when Ava struggled with her decision to leave her twentythree-year marriage, they plan on getting together in Memphis (their hometown). Ava had been with Stan since she was twentytwo, but now she feels that they are in a rut. On reaching Memphis, Ava got back in touch with her ex-boyfriend, Mark. What nobody could have seen was that Celia's ex-boyfriend, Tate, was also in Memphis and was eager to talk to Celia. His presence brought up many memories of the past, sweet and bitter, that Celia had worked hard in keeping buried. Betrayal of Tate, good times with her brother, Hayward, and the heartfelt discussions with her charismatic friend, Little Tea, were the most signiﬁcant of all those recollections. Little Tea by Claire Fullerton is an experience and not just a book. Most of the time, Celia narrates the story, but that does not decrease the importance of other characters. Ava is a capricious woman that brings the fun factor into the plot. Renny is a straightforward woman whose personality oozes control. Celia is a thinker who does not speak without analyzing all the facts. Little Tea, whom Celia considered her best friend, only wishes to get far away from the racism of Memphis. Hayward, Celia's brother, brings calm and joy into the plot. He takes a ﬁrm stand against the racist comments of his family without showing any sign of anger or annoyance.
Claire Fullerton has done a commendable job of discussing the prejudiced opinion of a few privileged sets of people against the black community in the '80s. Although Celia and Hayward can ﬁnd no ﬂaw in Little Tea, not all members of their family tolerate this friendship. Claire Fullerton moves both the present and the ﬂashback parts of the story almost in parallel. Drama, the innocence of youth, the banter of friends, and suspense are my most cherished elements of this book.
Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
“Claire Fullerton once again delivers an emotional, lyrical tale and proves she’s a writer to watch.”
--Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials
" If Southern fiction is your sweet spot, then Little Tea is the bullseye and Claire Fullerton an expert marksman. Claire Fullerton writes with a depth of character, compassion, and hope.
Kristy Barrett and Tonni Callan of A Novel Bee.
Fullerton delivers another poignant work of Southern Fiction in Little Tea. With a well-paced narrative and sense of place, we revisit the hard truths of family and friends in the Deep South, where the past is never past.
----Johnnie Bernhard, author of Sisters of the Undertow
Little Tea, set in Como, Mississippi, during the turbulent 1980s, is another brilliant southern family saga from Memphis native and master storyteller Claire Fullerton. Stunning prose, vivid characters, a captivating story, and an ending I never saw coming.—Susan Cushman, author of Friends of the Library and Cherry Bomb, and editor of Southern Writers on Writing
Little Tea is a simple title that belies a story that is both complex and compelling. Beautifully written, the novel moves seamlessly between the 1980s Memphis and the present, as we become fascinated by the family dynamics, and events that would change the lives of those touched by them. It is a book you will be reluctant to put down, and with some unexpected twists to the story it will keep you captivated to the end
.-- Sally Cronin: Author and Book Blogger: Smorgasbord
by Claire Fullerton
"Like sitting in a parlor and catching up on the trials and tragedies
of the reader’s own extended Southern family."
"Claire Fullerton has given us a wise, relatable narrator in Millie. Like a trusted friend, she guides us through the confounding tale of her dazzling brother Finley, their beguiling mother Posey, and a town where shiny surfaces often belie reality. Like those surfaces, Fullerton’s prose sparkles even as she leads us into dark places, posing profound questions without any easy answers.”
Margaret Evans Editor, Lowcountry Weekly, Former Assistant Editor of Pat Conroy
"Mourning Dove is a wise and brilliantly evocative Southern tale enhanced by Claire Fullerton's inimitable wit. You'll be glad you indulged in this eloquent exploration of colorful and complex family dynamics."
Gary Fearon, Creative Director of Southern Writers Magazine
"This is a glorious book. Just glorious. Every sentence tells a complete story. In Mourning Dove, you’ll find no wasted words. Tightly written, each descriptive phrase renders an image so completely — it causes the reader to hunger for the next sentence…This is a beautifully written novel. It deserves recognition and praise. The novel travels through childhood into adulthood with grace, poise, and elegance — a wonderful summer read."
Valerie MacEwan, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature"
"The book has been compared (and) has reminded readers of the works of Pat Conroy, and if you know anything about Southern novels then you know that is the highest praise. You won’t be disappointed. If you want to know the real South of the 1970s, read Mourning Dove. Much like Claire Fullerton’s masterpiece, Dancing to an Irish Reel, you get atmosphere, emotions, characters, not only the main but a wonderful supporting cast, which very much matches what you find in the South. You also find yourself pulled in to the landscape and forget you exist in a present. You are present in the past."
Ronovan (Writes) Hester - Lit World Interviews
"More than a coming-of-age story or a multi-layered family saga—and it is both of those things—MOURNING DOVE is a cautionary tale wrought with beautiful prose and gut-wrenching truthfulness. Readers will fall in love with Finley and Millie, and will root for both of them until the end. And yes, we are also sympathetic towards their mother Posey. A jewel of a novel."
Susan Cushman - Author
Rarely have I read anything with such a finely-tuned and perfectly detailed sense of time and place. The author depicts the cultural enormity of two young children's move from suburban Minneapolis to deeply Southern, Memphis high society at the most vulnerable time of their lives with clarity, heart, and remarkably observed detail.
Alison Henderson – Writer
“Fullerton delivers a punch that impacts the reader in a vein similar to To Kill a Mockingbird—even the coming-of-age protagonists and titles align to a degree. …Like To Kill a Mockingbird, Mourning Dove examines the social mores of masculinity versus. femininity, rich versus poor, life versus death, and maturity versus youth. Unlike Lee’s classic, Fullerton uses these themes in a painfully intimate way with her central characters unapologetically tasked with navigating between these worlds. Where Scout and Jem experience these from a protected and privileged distance in To Kill a Mockingbird, Millie and Finley are more often than not left to their own devices. The siblings maneuver across both literal and figurative borders with no guidance from the adults in their lives—who admittedly seem less prepared or willing to manage these borders for themselves. Fullerton’s novel will transcend generations for this reason. It speaks to readers across different barriers in the same way that her novel oscillates. North to South. Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennial. The hard-learned lessons she captures know no boundaries and have no mercies. Mourning Dove is a novel we not only read, but listen to as we would a teacher filled hard won wisdom.”
Emery Duffy - Review in The New Southern Fugitives
"Claire Fullerton knows how to get a voice going. I'm talking distinctive, authoritative, original as all get out. Narrator Millie Crossan will grab you by your high-ball-holding hand and set you down in privileged Memphis with her family and not let you go. Get ready for the Crossan layers to be peeled back and universal struggles exposed."
Bren McClain, Author of One Good Mama Bone
"In Mourning Dove, Claire Fullerton deftly weaves the story of a Memphis family into a fine fabric laden with delicious intricacy and heart. A true Southern storyteller."
Laura Lane McNeal, Author of Dollbaby
With a strong sense of place and an authentic voice, Claire Fullerton captures the longing and angst of an aristocratic Southern family. The narrator Millie and her brother, Finley will stay with readers long after this novel is read. Mourning Dove is smart, well-written Southern Fiction.
Johnnie Bernhard, Author of A Good Girl, How We Came to Be
On the Audible Book: Be prepared to be hypnotized by this gripping family story of love read with bravado by the author—
I am writing while listening to the former Rock radio disc jockey Ms. Fullerton read her book MOURNING DOVE in her mesmerizing Southern lilt, and I know I shall do this again and again. One is transported to the atmospheric scenes of this beautifully scripted novel as narrated by the young Camille (Millie) Crossan, the younger sister of the dynamic touchstone Finley. You can hear in your mind the old Memphis house with the mother Posey’s cocktail glasses tinkling in the card room at five o’clock, the grim step-father colonel leaving the house for a quarter of an hour with his vicious dog, the eight-note chimed doorbell ringing, and the resident Mourning Dove cooing from the big Magnolia tree branch outside a second floor bedroom in the big old spooky place. I’m delighted to have purchased the Audiobook as a single purchase.
Laura Jane Sanderson Healy
Audible Audiobook: This book, so well written, contains a story in every sentence. It's absolutely lyrical, such a brilliant study of Southern (US) life and influences. A coming of age book written by the adult, looking back at her extraordinary older brother and his life, how it affected her -- this life strangely led by a charismatic brilliant young man. Read it to be entertained but also read it to learn. I recommend this book most heartily. Claire Fullerton nails it.
Mourning Dove is a wonderful narrative with purpose, direction and an emblematic linchpin. I found myself being drawn back to it again and again. The ending was just brilliant—it must have been Fullerton’s intention all along, which makes the story incredibly moving and masterful.
Dancing to an Irish Reel
"Sometimes an author connects with their subject so well that it is evident in the story. Author Claire Fullerton gives many details of Irish life and culture, and the reader does feel very much inside the Irish landscape, hearing the voices of Irish residents, and breathing in the fresh Irish air.."
"Dancing to an Irish Reel is very much about character and location. It's also about the quality of the writing, which is superb..."
The Bookbag, UK
"An intriguing paranormal story written in two time periods and set in California's hauntingly beautiful Carmel-by-the-sea on the Monterey Peninsula. The words and actions of the characters are uncannily similar and fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Rich in history, foreshadow and coincidence, A Portal in Time asks: "When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular region, is it coincidence, or have we been there before?"
Claire Fullerton is the author of four novels and one novella. Her southern family saga set in 1970's Memphis, Mourning Dove (Firefly Southern Fiction) was a five-time book award winner and a semi-finalist in the Faulkner Society's 2017 William Wisdom international competition. Claire's novel Dancing to an Irish Reel (Vinspire Publishing) was a 2016 Kindle Books Review winner in cultural fiction and a 2016 Readers' Favorite finalist. She is the author of paranormal mystery, A Portal in Time (Vinspire Publishing) and a contributor to the book A Southern Season, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set a southern funeral in Memphis. Her fourth novel, Little Tea, is a 2018 Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom International competition. Her work has appeared in Southern Writers Magazin, Celtic Life International, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Women on Writing and The Glorious Table. Little Tea will release in May 2020. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.