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Mourning Dove

by Claire Fullerton

Cover Mourning Dove .jpg


"Like sitting in a parlor and catching up on the trials and tragedies

of the reader’s own extended Southern family."

Kirkus Review

"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.

Jaymi’s Review

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