Making Peace tells the heart-warming tale of Hannah Ainsley’s journey through grief. It picks up the pieces of McCallum’s novel Finding Hannah and creates a new collage of kindness, friendship, and forgiveness.
Still haunted by The Accident that claimed the lives of her husband and parents, Hannah must not only deal with her own emotions and her fear of moving forward, but also the ripple effect dispersing amongst those she loves. It seems no one has been left untouched by The Accident, which serves as a reminder of the fleetingness of life and becomes the catalyst for change. Settling in any aspect of life is no longer an option and this desire for change quickly becomes infectious. However, it’s not until a chance encounter that Hannah’s determination sets her on a course that will transform her life and the lives of those around her, proving that “good things can come out of tragedies, if you’re only willing to look for them.”
As a sequel, Making Peace should be commended for having the strength to stand on its own as a novel, though a first-time reader may be left curious about the significance of the ladybug and Hannah’s history with journalist Brad Thomas. Unfortunately, one must trip over a few grammatical errors in the text before fully investing in the narrative. There is also the occasional unnatural conversation between characters in which the reader may feel over informed rather than left to come to their own conclusions.
Still, McCallum’s writing shines a light on the beauty in friendship and the special comfort of precious animal company. Pearls of wisdom can be found placed delicately throughout the book, gifting the reader with a set of life lessons to take away. There is also a common belief among the characters of Making Peace as they share a hope in the universe and a belief that a higher power is at work in their lives, even if several of the characters make a point of stating they are against organised religion. “There aren’t really any coincidences,” Sam, Hannah’s best friend, tells her, “it’s all the work of the universe.”
Making Peace is a heart-warming story of healing and, like the cats who had “well and truly made themselves at home in Hannah’s house and heart”, this book will grace my shelf to remind me “there’s never a reason not to be kind.”
Reviewed by Elizabeth Calder
Rating out of 10: 6
Distributed by: Harlequin Books through Harper Collins Australia
Released: March 2018