About the Book:
From Australia’s master storyteller comes an uplifting story of new and old friendships, letting go of the past and looking to the future…
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?
Making Peace is such a comforting novel to sink into. The main character, Hannah Ainsley, is such a beautiful soul, I really enjoyed spending time with her. The power of kindness cannot be overestimated and I have really begun in recent years to champion kindness above all else; with my children at home and with the students I encounter in my day job working at a high school, as well as in my professional capacity within the book industry. So many good things can come from simply being kind, the ripple effect is pretty much never ending, so to read a novel that has this as its central theme, well, it really gave me a lot of joy. I relished it, every page, and looked forward to getting back to it as soon as I could each time I had to put it down.
Hannah has pretty much been treading water for the year since tragedy struck and she lost her parents and husband in an accident. I admired Hannah so much. Here was a character who had every reason to feel bitter and disengaged with life; in losing her husband she also lost the future she had planned. An orphan and a widow in one hit. It’s overwhelming to even contemplate. When we meet her in Making Peace, she seems to be at a point where she’s consciously made a decision to live her life in the best way that she can, perhaps as an honour to the family she lost, and I loved that so much, such a powerfully positive message. She’s appreciative of her friends and conscious of them having supported her through her grief so she’s making attempts to pay this forward to them at every opportunity. There was a risk with all of this ‘kindness’ that Hannah may have come off as ‘too nice’ and not reflective of a woman grieving, but I feel Fiona has struck that balance well, testimony to her skill as an established writer. Hannah still felt frustrated, sad, adrift, tired and overwhelmed; she was still grieving, but she was also trying really hard to harvest happiness, and that’s something to be admired. Her well of empathy was deep and her capacity to accept the things that can’t be changed is humbling and I feel certain there will be many readers who will draw comfort and strength from Hannah, as I did.
I enjoyed the supporting crowd within this novel that made up Hannah’s circle of friends. I had particularly sympathy for Sam though and I really felt that her husband Rob was giving her a raw deal. His reasons for leaving the marriage were one thing, and it happens that way sometimes and I totally understand where he was coming from, but I felt as though he was playing the family, especially Sam, neither here nor there but just jetting off overseas to run away and live as single man, checking in everyday as though he hadn’t just blown Sam’s world apart and left her to deal with the fall out. He was a bit weak in my eyes, but that also made Sam all the more stronger as well, so again, we see evidence of Fiona applying a deft hand to her characters and the situations she steers them into. I like the way this all panned out in the end for Sam, but Rob certainly angered me a fair bit before I reached this contentment.
Making Peace is a lovely novel, a true comfort read to curl up with to while away the hours. A good one for book clubs too as there is plenty of material to explore and discuss. Making Peace is the follow up to Fiona McCallum’s Finding Hannah, and while it is a sequel, readers can be assured that you can also enjoy it as a standalone if you have not yet read Finding Hannah, but really like the sound of this one.
Thanks is extended to HQ Fiction for providing me with a copy of Making Peace for review.
About the Author:
Fiona McCallum has enjoyed a life of contrasts. She was raised on a cereal and wool farm in rural South Australia and then moved to inner-city Melbourne to study at university as a mature age student. Accidentally starting a writing and editing consultancy saw her mixing in corporate circles in Melbourne and then Sydney. She returned to Adelaide for a slower paced life and to chase her dream of becoming an author – which took nearly a decade full of rejections from agents and publishers to achieve. Fiona now works as a full-time novelist and really is proof dreams can come true. Fiona’s stories are heart-warming journeys of self-discovery that draw on her life experiences, love of animals and fascination with the power and support that comes from strong friendships. She is the author of nine Australian bestsellers: Paycheque, Nowhere Else, Wattle Creek, Saving Grace, Time Will Tell, Meant To Be, Leap of Faith, Standing Strong, and Finding Hannah. Making Peace is Fiona’s tenth novel.