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Friday, May 4, 2018

Making Peace by Fiona McCallum

Title: Making Peace
Author: Fiona McCallum
Publisher: 19 March 2018 by Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: general fiction, women's fiction
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

Does one simple act of kindness have the power to completely turn someone’s life around?
It’s been a year since Hannah Ainsley lost her husband and parents – her whole family – in a car crash on Christmas morning. Despite her overwhelming loss, she’s worked hard to pull the pieces of her life together with the help of a group of dear, loyal friends. But while Hannah is beginning to become excited about the future again, she's concerned that her best friend and talented artist Sam is facing a crisis of her own. It's now Hannah's turn to be Sam's rock – can she save Sam’s dreams from unravelling?
When Hannah returns to work after her holidays, she can’t settle. She’s loved her job for a decade, and it’s been her lifeline during her grief. But something’s changed. She’s changed. And for all this time she’s avoided knowing the details of the accident or investigation – what would be the point, she’d thought, when nothing will bring her loved ones back? But after a chance meeting, it’s all there in front of her – and, like ripples in a pond, it extends beyond her own experiences. Could knowing be the key to her recovery? Could her involvement be the key to someone else’s?
From Australia’s master storyteller comes an uplifting story of new and old friendships, letting go of the past and looking to the future...
My Thoughts

‘Making Peace’ is the follow up to Fiona McCallum’s ‘Finding Hannah’ (which I have not read) and while it is a sequel, you can be assured that you will enjoy this as a standalone. This novel picks up one year after Hannah Ainsley lost her husband and parents in a tragic Christmas Day car accident. Hannah has spent the past twelve months moving through the process of grief, supported by her special group of friends.

This is the story of how Hannah has reached a point in her life where she attempts to move on. Her loss will always be felt in her heart, however, she is making a conscious decision to move on with life. You can therefore understand that this is a tale of dealing with grief and how people cope with it. Given the circumstances of Hannah’s tragic loss, I believe the central theme of this tale revolves around the capacity to forgive as the first step in moving on. The need of strong, supportive friendships is also presented as being essential. Fiona tries to stress what she calls the ‘ripple effect’ in how kind acts can be repaid over and over in others lives.

‘I think it’s good that people, especially those you care about, are using what’s happened as a catalyst for change in a good way’

If you are a person who has been struggling with loss, then you may find this tale to be a soothing balm. For me, I found it a ‘nice’ story but it does not really go anywhere. Everyone just seemed to be too nice and too accomodating, and Hannah would undoubtedly be one of the purest, kindest and most forgiving characters ever written. Yet, this may be the message Fiona is trying to convey, that to experience such a horrific loss, how does one move on? Maybe it does all come down to one’s forgiving nature to start the journey of healing and moving forward.  I also struggled with the amount of (what I believe was unnecessary) dialogue even from secondary characters eg. waitresses. It just dragged the story down to discuss every little detail or thought. I disliked the whole ‘stalking’ storyline - brushed aside too quickly for my liking.

Overall, however, this is indeed a lovely and uplifting tale providing a happy closure with a strong message of being kind and forgiving.

“It’s inside you. You have to find your reason for living and making peace with it all.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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