Finnish piano-tuner Hanna Suvanto loves her new life and friends in Dublin. And the icing on the cake is meeting Ireland’s premium bachelor Sebastian O’Reilly. But their whirlwind romance hits a serious obstacle when Hanna’s stay is unexpectedly cut short. Sebastian seems strangely unconcerned about her departure – and then Hanna makes a shocking discovery about the man she thought she knew.
A truly thought-provoking, culturally educating and linguistic novel; Fine-Tuning Hanna makes you think about re-evaluating your life by re-evaluating yourself and your beliefs. I have to say I was seriously rethinking my future and where I wanted to end up and who I wanted to be just from reading this novel. So if you learn nothing else about relationship, maybe you can learn about how to change your outlook as well as direction of life.
Fine-Tuning Hanna was also interesting in that you learned about the differences in Finnish and Irish cultures and how different nationalities function together. Finnish people tended to be cold and stand offish, whereas Irish people tended to be very friendly towards everyone. Yet this novel also taught you that love can bridge any two cultures and make everything work out. So if international knowledge is your game, this book has something for you too.
Although, I would say all the language is just as interesting. I just assumed (and forgive me if you’re Irish or Finnish out there) that people from Ireland and Finland spoke English but just with accents. I know, silly Americans but there is a whole world I don’t know anything about, so this book is the perfect way to get a jump start on a new language or at least take an interest in one.
I know most of what I said above is not about what happens in the book. We’ll get to that. I just wanted the reader to know all the different and exciting things in the book. So if maybe you don’t like the story, you will still appreciate the positive thinking ideologies, cultural descriptions and other worldly language. Now on to the story.
Hanna is lives in Finland and works as a piano tuner but is currently in Ireland in a sort of exchange program to get a taste of another culture. The book begins with her waking up with a hangover from her 30th birthday party. Suddenly Hanna is feeling the effects of aging, thinking that she’ll never do anything interesting with her life and all the fun is gone. That is until Micheal, her gay best friend, takes her to see Sebastian O’Reilly, the personal development guru.
At first Hanna is skeptical, believing all this “personal development” talk to be malarkey (A word to mean nonsense that originated in the United Kingdom. I thought it was Irish. Just so you know). However when she finally sees Sebastian, she is memorized not only by his good looks but by the words he says and how he says them. Sebastian oozes energy and enthusiasm and he believes that anyone can achieve happiness by getting rid of negative beliefs. To say the least, Hanna is hooked.
Soon after, she meets Sebastian and the two hit it off swimmingly. Hanna is head over heels and she thinks Sebastian feels the same way. Only she will be moving back to Finland in six months and doesn’t want to get into the heavy conversations so early in the relationship. Yet she knows this is love she feels, but does Sebastian feel the same way? Will he be willing to move to Finland with her? Or is this just some fling?
Well the time to answer those hard questions has come sooner than expected. David, the Irish piano tuner who has taken her place in Finland, has just found out his mother has developed terminal cancer and he must return to Ireland immediately, to be with his mother in her dying days. Of course this means Hanna will have to return to Finland at least three months ahead of schedule and she must break the news to Sebastian.
However, when she breaks the news to Sebastian, he doesn’t give Hanna the reaction she is looking for and she storms out his office. Now to make matters worse, Cathy, his PA, has told Hanna some disturbing news about her and Sebastian together. Heart-broken all over again, Hanna doesn’t wait and hightails it out of Ireland. Yet Finland isn’t the home she once knew. Her cold and distant nature aren’t warm and inviting like Ireland, which she needs to forget about Sebastian but they don’t help her move on from the pain of his betrayal as well as the pain of losing him. Can she go back to who she was before Sebastian, before Ireland or will she forever be stuck in heart-broken hell?
Fine-Tuning Hanna is about taking chances and dispelling the negative thought and truly finding happiness in one’s life. However, Fine-Tuning Hanna is also about learning a different culture from your own as well as learning a new language. Yet most importantly, Fine-Tuning Hanna is about love and overcoming the obstacles thrown our way and the ones we allow to stop us to be with the one we are truly meant to be with forever.
Reviewed by Camia Rhodes
Publication date: 8/17/2013