Making Peace, Fiona McCallum’s latest and tenth novel, opens just one year and six days after the cataclysmic accident that has ruined Hannah’s life.
It’s Christmas and Hannah’s newly rescued cat called Holly and her kittens, Lucky and Squeak have become her Christmas miracle. Apart from being cute and cuddly, they need her, and being needed is a wonderful distraction from a broken heart. As Hannah reminds herself, Holly and the kittens have saved her as much as she’s saved them.
With the help of staunch and loyal friends and her own very best efforts to stay strong and look forward, Hannah has tried her hardest to piece her life back together and recover from the shock of suddenly losing her husband, Tristan and both her parents. She returns to her normal job, but feels restless, confused, let down that the world that has been ticking over as normal, while she’s been wrapped in her own bewildering world of loss.
Something else is wrong – her best friend, Sam, is clearly deeply upset but not talking about it. When Hannah discovers the distressing and unexpected truth, the tables are reversed and she has to be the one to give Sam all the love and support she can muster.
No sooner is Hannah back at work, helping Sam survive – and encouraging her to take her artistic career seriously – than a chance glance at a TV screen reveals to Hannah that the court case against the driver and the trucking company involved in the horrific crash that killed her family, is underway. She’s never wanted to learn the grim details, yet on a whim, decides to attend the court. Outside, the courtroom she meets Henry, the traumatised truck driver who has never forgiven himself. Hannah is moved by his contrition and by how much his life has spun out of control. She feels sorry for him. A friendship of sorts begins, setting off another chain of events.
Change brings more change and with a gulp Hannah steps out into the dating world, a huge step that she takes shakily and without confidence.
The same as anyone’s journey after a huge, life changing event, Hannah’s is bumpy and at times, she endures some big setbacks. Numb for so long, now that her feelings are returning, she seems to feel everything more intensely. Thank goodness that Holly, and her kittens and their fluffy little butts, their snuffles and purrs, are always waiting at home for her at the end of the day.
With Making Peace, which is both a sequel to her last novel, Finding Hannah, but also a standalone, Fiona McCallum has written a wise and moving story that explores the power of forgiveness and kindness, and shows great insight into what it is to somehow survive, even grow through an extremely tough loss.
As Auntie Beth comments in the beginning, tragedy can shine a light on things that need to change. As the shock waves from Hannah’s terrible tragedy reverberate among those closest to her, lives are changed considerably and in some cases, in liberating ways.
Friendship is another big key to Hannah’s recovery, as are the benefits of helping others in need.
Just ask Holly.
About the author
Fiona’s stories are heartwarming 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.