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  • Hannah Fielding - Romance Novelist

From the blurb:

Chicago businessman and bachelor Devon Pierce is completely unprepared to be the guardian of Australian four-year-old Ryan Caldwell. But Ryan’s solicitor, Stella Walker, won’t take no for an answer. Little does Devon know this “minor” adjustment will grant him a future he never expected to have. Told in a fast-paced, poignant, and witty style, Minor Adjustments will take you on a journey of humor, growth, romance, and love.

When workaholic businessman Devon Pierce arrives in Australia to meet the solicitor of former acquaintance Lindsay Caldwell, little does he know that his life is about to change. Handsome and kind, Devon’s life revolves around his work; in eight years he has not taken a day off from the successful business that he founded himself. Indeed, his company is an obsession that has driven away his fiancée, limited his friends, and kept him separated from his large and loving family. Yet a meeting with beautiful Australian solicitor Stella Walker is about to present him with a new challenge: to become legal guardian to Lindsay’s child, Ryan.

Ryan. His buddy, his champ. The boy who’d traipsed into Devon’s life with his dimple, his charm, and his little Australian accent. The boy who giggled, loved Aussie, tracked dirt everywhere, coloured on walls, memorized poems, and made castles for ninjas. The boy who sent balloons to heaven and couldn’t understand why the Southern Cross didn’t appear in the Portland night skies. The boy who called him Dad.

At its heart this well-paced book is a very sweet, very simple love story. But unlike most romance novels, this story revolves around the mutual love of three main characters, Devon, Ryan and Stella, as they develop a relationship that spans the world. Indeed the overarching theme of the book is about love in all its many guises, the tragic friendship of Stella and Lindsay, the long-distance romance between Devon and Stella (Will they? Won’t they?), the love of a family accepting a lost member back into its fold, the bittersweet decision to exchange an old, safe life for something unknown, the deep parental desire to do what’s best for a child. However, through Lindsay’s story the book also touches on the effects of withholding love and affection, how uncaring parents can scar a child for life and how even a short experience of true family warmth can act as a beacon of perfection decades later.

Told from the adults’ points of view, we experience what it is like to be Devon, torn between the job he loves and the child he must care for. We get to experience Stella, lonely, frosty, unhappy with her friend’s decision, forced to trust a man she doesn’t know with a child she loves. We get to feel the wonder of exploring the Australian landscape: the bustle and landmarks of Sydney, the stunning beaches, the wild beauty of the outback and the Blue Mountains in particular. We get to live vicariously through Devon as he falls in love with Australian culture, wildlife (but not pet goldfish) and food (but definitely not Vegemite) and, of course, Stella. We watch the characters as they grow, playful Devon embracing his kind, caring, paternal nature as he learns to be a parent, and the wise-cracking, fact-loving Stella as she comes to realise that her friend Lindsay knew what she was doing after all.

The book is not all sweetness, however; there are villains and threats, most particularly in the guise of the wicked and abusive Justin Wells, the one man who can destroy their new-found perfection. Of course, it is no spoiler to say that love conquers all in the end (after all, what would this book be without a happy ending?), but so great has our affection for the family grown that we are genuinely relieved when things work out the way they do – a clear testament to Rachael Renee Anderson’s warm-hearted writing style.      

A wholehearted recommendation from me for an uplifting book.

Minor Adjustments is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.

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