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‘Part-Liane Moriarty, part-Jodi Picoult, Just an Ordinary Family is a compelling drama about a seemingly ‘ordinary’ family that implodes after a domino effect of lies, betrayals, disappointments and regrets … set to be the next Big Little Lies.’

—Mamamia on Just an Ordinary Family

‘Fiona’s insight into the fickle nature of life … and how best intentions can so easily come undone makes it simple to identify with her characters and lends an authentic resonance to this roller-coaster story.’

—Australian Country on Just an Ordinary Family

‘Lowe weaves character development and complexity with stunning finesse … this story is not a light read, but it is one that proved difficult to put down.’

—GLAM Adelaide on Just an Ordinary Family

‘Fiona Lowe’s ability to create atmosphere and tension and real relationship dynamics is a gift.’

—Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Mother-in-Law, on Home Fires

‘Lowe breathes real life into her characters … a profoundly hopeful tale, one of re-generation, of the strength gained from women supporting women, and of a community pulling together, one that acts as a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit … a deeply Australian story that brilliantly captures our own life and times.’

—Better Reading on Home Fires

‘Drama, upheaval and family secrets feature in the latest novel by Fiona Lowe, the undisputed queen of Australian small-town fiction … a moving character-driven tale that steadily draws you into its thrall.’

—Canberra Weekly on Just an Ordinary Family

‘Lowe is a master at painting believable characters with heart and soul that contribute to creating such an addictive read.’

—The Weekly Times on Birthright

‘Birthright is a complex story that seamlessly intertwines many story lines. It is full of interesting characters that reveal more and more as the story progresses. It is raw, incredibly engaging and reads beautifully.’

—The Big BookClub on Birthright

‘Distinctly Australian with its power to evoke grit and tenderness, joy and bleakness, tragedy and comedy, all at once.’

—Better Reading on Birthright

‘A sweeping Australian novel of lost love and tangled family secrets.’

—Australian Country on Daughter of Mine

‘A readable and thoughtful book. It has winner written all over it.’

—The Weekly Times on Daughter of Mine

‘… a real page-turner.’

—Cairns Eye on Daughter of Mine


FIONA LOWE has been a midwife, a sexual health counsellor and a family support worker; an ideal career for an author who writes novels about family, community and relationships. She spent her early years in Papua New Guinea where, without television, reading was the entertainment and it set up a lifelong love of books. Although she often re-wrote the endings of books in her head, it was the birth of her first child that prompted her to write her first novel. A recipient of the prestigious USA RITA® award and the Australian RuBY award, Fiona writes books that are set in small country towns. They feature real people facing difficult choices and explore how family ties and relationships impact on their decisions.

When she’s not writing stories, she’s a distracted wife, mother of two ‘ginger’ sons, a volunteer in her community, guardian of eighty rose bushes, a slave to a cat, and is often found collapsed on the couch with wine. You can find her at her website, fionalowe.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

Also by Fiona Lowe

Daughter of Mine


Home Fires

Just an Ordinary Family


To Amy

A beautiful person, a wonderful mother and a fabulous publicist.

Rest in Peace

If you have a garden in your library, everything will be complete.


’Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

Greek Proverb



About the Author

Also by Fiona Lowe


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44



Book Club Questions


The clear night sky offered no insulation from the insidious cold that curled around Helen with long icy fingers. Despite the jeans, jumper and woolly hat she was wearing, and being snuggled under a sparsely feathered doona, the chill penetrated the layers like a stealth bomber finding its target. Her car could double as a cool room. Shivering, she urged herself to look for something positive in the situation, but her weary sleep-deprived mind struggled to cough up one thing. Eventually it settled on the milk for her cornflakes. Unlike earlier in the year, it wouldn’t be curdled in the morning.

A vicious ‘hah!’ twisted sharp and harsh in her laugh, scaring her almost as much as sleeping in her car did. People believed homelessness meant sleeping on a park bench or in the doorway of a city office building. No one associated it with the wholesome countryside or with people who owned a car. In six months, Helen had learned every rule about how to sleep rough in her car. During the day, her age gave her an invisibility she railed against, but after dark, when she wanted to fade into the inky night, she became visible. Spending more than two nights parked anywhere risked her being noticed by the local police who told her to move on. Even free camping sites weren’t harassment-free. She’d lost count of the times she’d been told, ‘This is for real campers’. Apparently, the tiny sink in a Kombi or the mattress in a Hiace van made them far more acceptable places to sleep than her car.

Tonight, she was parked in the shadows of ironbarks in an abandoned worksite she assumed had been created for gravel piles when Vic Roads widened the highway. On her self-created scale of safety, the spot scored highly and she’d anticipated a deeper than usual sleep, but the frigid night put paid to that.

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