Book Club: Finding Hannah

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Author: Fiona McCallum
ISBN: 9781489220365
RRP: $29.99

Fiona McCallum is an Australian author with her ninth novel just released. I have read the majority of her novels, I think there’s 2 I need to catch up on, and they have all had a rural setting though not necessarily a strong romance theme. Finding Hannah is similar in that it is a story of friendship, healing and facing the aftermath of trauma but this one is set in Melbourne which is far from rural.

I didn’t do any real research before jumping at the chance to book club Finding Hannah because I have enjoyed Fiona’s earlier books so knew that I wanted to read it. I did read the blurb before I picked up the book so I knew that we were in for a tragedy but I still wasn’t expecting to be hit quite so hard with it. And really that’s all I can say without spoilers because I don’t want to impact on other readers experiences and make it less powerful by preparing them.

Hormones make me emotional, and they make me crazy (crazier if you ask my husband). So reading this four and a half weeks post-partum may not have been the best idea. It made me very emotional and definitely increased the crazy factor. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad read or a bad story; it was just a very powerful story that touched me.

Sometimes I think the measure of a good story is one that makes you think and makes you put yourself in a similar situation. I couldn’t imagine myself all the way into Hannah’s situation but the story certainly made me think about a couple of things in my life.

Finding Hannah is a book that is going to hit you right in the emotional soft spot. This is heart shattering grief that could easily destroy you.

A story that opens with such positive optimism and festive cheer, only to have it all destroyed in the very first chapter. Hannah is beyond shattered and doesn’t know how she will go on. Fortunately her best friend Sam is on hand when her world falls apart, and she stays with her. Hannah has a beautiful support network around her to help her get through but sometimes it seems that all the support on offer isn’t going to be enough.

Finding Hannah takes us on a roller-coaster ride through the hell that is the first year of grief with Hannah Ainsley as she learns to live again after a soul destroying tragedy. It is a story of the strength and support of strong friendships and building new friendships; and learning to create a new life out of the ashes of grief. Nothing will ever be the same again so you don’t just get back to normal but you find your way to a new normal, a normal you can live with and smile through.

I find McCallum’s writing quite simple, I’m not sure that’s the best word for what I’m trying to say but it’s late and I’m hormonal. The way McCallum writes means that this book that was such a heavy and heartbreaking story was still a light read.

This is a really good read that I enjoyed and that I would recommend, but I would suggest you be aware it could definitely hold some triggers for readers.

Finding Hannah is book #15 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

Fiona McCallum can be found on Facebook and her website.

Finding Hannah is published by Harlequin Mira and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin Mira 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Finding Hannah so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.

19 thoughts on “Book Club: Finding Hannah

  1. Finding Hannah well what can I say that hasn’t been said but a very endearing brilliant read that I enjoyed & relate to a little

    sad beginning gut wrenching more like so the tissues were there but as the story evolved Hannah’s strength shone through with the help of good people

    I enjoyed this read & I think it is in my favourite pile & would recommend to anyone that enjoys a good read

  2. Finding Hannah is a very emotional story where Hannah suddenly is left a widow and with no parents as they and her husband are killed in a crash on Christmas Day. To have this happen at that time is sad but to have those immediate family all lost at the same time to me is far too sad to comprehend. However, going through the emotions with Hannah I found I wanted to be there with her and for her. Hannah changes from what appears to be a contented person happy with her life and the support of her husband and parents to becoming a strong person learning to deal with her life as it’s left her. She has support around in her friends but she decides she needs to become independent and strong. The story evolves over 12 months from one Christmas to another and we see her challenges, he sadness coupled with new experiences. I love that she went to the US on her own and returned home when she felt the need strong enough too. Without giving too much away I would love to read the next stage of Hannah’s life.
    Lovely read and such a sensitive story.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity to read Finding Hannah by Fiona McCallum.

    This was quite an emotional read and a story of finding your own way that works for you. Hannah has a great tragedy occur on her favourite day of the year – Christmas. This affects her entire life and sets her on an emotional rollercoaster. I haven’t been through anything on her scale, but could identify with some situations which made it easier to read.

    Hannah has some amazing friends to help her through some very dark times. These include her best friend Sam. They are on the same page and have a closeness many of us dream of. She has Auntie Beth who lives across the road and is an older voice of reason and wisdom. Then there are her friends through work who make the journey easier. I love her friendship with Jasmine which comes from a different perspective again and grows through the book.

    I feel for Hannah’s journey from happily married with a loving family to a whole new world. While this is a serious book it is an easy read and one worth the hard times.

  4. Finding Hannah is not my usual read. I do tend to read escapism and “light” books. This was far from that.

    A story about loss and grief. Friends and I guess just life in general.
    Although loss is a very big part of life, it is something I try not to dwell on.

    I found the subject matter very hard, raw and emotional. I shed quite a few tears while reading this book.

    Well written and highly emotive, this book left a big impression on me.

  5. Thanks to Harlequin and Beauty and Lace for allowing me to read this book.
    This book is definitely a book that will take you on a journey of emotions as we follow the story of Hannah who suffers a terrible tragedy on Christmas Day. The story is a very sad one and it would be hard to imagine how you would act if you ended up in the same situation.
    This story really is a book that deals with getting over the grief of losing someone and how it can change your life so suddenly. With the help of Hannah’s old and new friends she comes to terms with herself and is forced to find out who Hannah is and what she wants out of life.
    The story is written in a fairly simple manner so despite being quite a hard hitting subject it is still relatively quick and easy to get through. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t overly drawn into the story so it wasn’t a book I would be eager to pick up each day but I still found it ti be a good read.

  6. Fiona McCallum really does tell a beautiful & captivating story of love, love lost & self discovery in her latest novel, Finding Hannah.

    Hannah Ainsley leads a charmed life, has a wonderful husband, loving parents and has an array of thoughtful friends.

    Christmas brings everyone together and is above all, Hannah’s most treasured time of year.

    But Christmas Day this year brings a debilitating tragedy and her world is unceremoniously torn apart in one foul strike.

    This is a journey through an array of deep emotions, grief, survival and learning to live again…
    I was swept up instantly, Fiona McCallum has written this so beautifully.

    It is moving and thoughtful but despite the great sadness of this story it is a wonderful read. The author is indeed a master of storytelling as Good Reading Magazine says.

    All the characters are instantly relatable, they sound like they could be your own circle of family and friends. I think this will strike a cord in everyone who decides to read it.

    As someone who adores Fantasy/Sci Fi, Historic Fiction & the odd Youth Fiction… I am a new convert to this author and genre.

    Thank you so much Harlequin Australia & Beauty and Lace for the opportunity of reading this touching novel.

    Finding Hannah will linger!

  7. I have read all of Fiona McCullum and have loved them, but
    unfortunately for me I didn’t 100% enjoy Finding Hannah.
    Within the first chapter is when the major event happens, it hits you really hard really early, it’s emotional and extremely sad.Can be very close to home and quite confronting. But after that I found I lost interest.

    However I do think the story would emotionally effect others in different ways depending on circumstances.
    I did find the first chapter did shock me.
    It was well written and easy to read but I would have loved a little more.

  8. I was chuffed to receive Finding Hannah to read and review for the Beauty and Lace book club.

    I enjoyed a lot about this book, the sensitive way it illustrates how grief can be crippling and all encompassing, the cast of diverse but loveable friends and family, the fond memories of happier times. I thought the author explored the processing of grief very well. At first, I felt initially a little let down by the ending, but on reflection I think it was perfectly appropriate. I kind of wanted more to happen with Pete and Charlie but that would have seemed too much of a fairy tale ending.

    So overall an interesting and enjoyable (although emotionally draining at times) read which I will certainly recommend to friends and family. A very poignant reminder to treasure your loved ones always.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace, Harlequin and Fiona McCallum for the opportunity.

  9. Finding Hannah written by Fiona McCallum had me intrigued from the very first chapter. The book revolves around Hannah, who loses her husband and parents in a car accident on Christmas Day. The character of Hannah works through all the stages of grief and as a reader, I felt that I was there with her as each layer in her journey unraveled.

    The title ‘Finding Hannah’ pretty much sums up the direction the book goes in, as Hannah works towards naturally finding herself again. It was quite an emotional read and I did find myself teary eyed at multiple points and this was a sign that I was feeling connected to the characters.

    I feel like Fiona McCallum has taken me on a rollercoaster ride through the experience of grief and loss. The book acknowledges the strength and persistence that is needed to heal. I especially enjoyed the ending and surprisingly I found myself laughing and crying a little too.

    I would definitely recommend this book to others and really want to explore some of Fiona McCallum’s other books.

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