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Aussie Book Review: Making Ends Meet by Anna Clifton

“From Anna Clifton comes a sweet, emotional, beautiful romance about a man whose life has been derailed and the unexpected woman who can help him get it back on track.

‘It’s for other reasons that I won’t need a nanny beyond a month.’

Twenty-three year old nanny Somer Sullivan has never had a job quite like this one: fix the messed-up, out-of-control life of high-profile artist and thirty-something dad Harry Halligan. But Somer is organised, efficient and not afraid of a challenge. She will do everything Harry needs her to do, including bringing his ex-wife home for good.

‘One month, Harry, and I’ll be out of here.’

Harry Halligan doesn’t want a nanny, but he needs one—he needs Somer. She’s the only one who can reach his troubled daughter, who can bring some measure of peace to his home. But as Somer advances her mission to fix his life, a few things become clear: his ex-wife might not be the answer, and Somer just might be. But Somer is running like hell from something in her own life and hiding in his.

Only one thing is for sure. Harry now has less than a month to make the hardest decision he’ll ever have to make—a decision that will change all of their lives forever.”

Anna Clifton first came to my attention at the beginning of this year when she contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing her third novel New Year’s Promise (my review here). By way of introduction to her novels, she explained that her sensuality ratings are mild, her characters around the thirty year old mark with her storylines providing good emotional impact.
It sounded like just my cup of tea – after all, I love a story that puts a touch of tightness in my chest. After reading that first one and now, having read Making Ends Meet, I believe that Anna is one of those Romance authors who you can always be assured will bring you a solid romance that is full of emotional conflict, completely rounded characters and great dialogue.
In Making Ends Meet the second in the series delving into the lives of the Halligan siblings, and the novel which follows New Year’s Promise, she brings to the frontline Harry Halligan, thirty-three, on the mend after his operation as he struggles to get back into his painting while looking after his two young children and the life-altering course his life has taken since his divorce from Freya. He’s a likeable character and, from a woman’s perspective, easy to empathise with given his situation.
Deciding he needs a nanny for just four weeks, he contacts a good friend of his who arranges for her step-cousin, Somer Sullivan, to attend an interview with him. Needless to say, they don’t exactly get off on the right footing and Harry has to do a bit of grovelling before she re-considers.
Somer is a sweet character who is fantastic with both the children as well as Harry. She is also the source of the emotional conflict between the adults, promising Harry that he will only need her for that month, which gives her enough time to aid in mending the broken relationship between him and Freya for the sake of their children. It is her own emotional baggage that sustains her as she asserts her opinions about broken marriages – after all, she herself is still emotionally stunted by her father’s abandonment of her and her mother when she was just fifteen.
What she didn’t count on was being on the receiving end of resistance from so many quarters!
With two separate threads also running through the main narrative, this makes for some interesting reading as Anna writes about the larger issues at play in contemporary relationships. This adds a sense of reality to the story which her effortless writing style weaves into a combination of romance and real life – where there are inevitably no easy answers.
She keeps her two main characters at the centre of the story, skilfully using their viewpoints and dialogue with the secondary characters to flesh them out and is careful not to over-dramatise them. Instead, she allows them all to take the reader by the hand as they come to grips with what has brought them to this point in their lives.
Her child characters are lovingly rendered and she gives them plenty of space, blending their dialogue well into the storyline and capturing the dynamics of young children caught between parents who are divorced and the trust they place in someone who gives them the attention they crave which offers them hope. Rosie in particular crept into my heart and some of the things she says are just beautiful.
Thoughtful, touching, warm and sentimental, those looking for something slightly deeper than fluffy romance shouldn’t pass Anna by.
I may still have her first two books (Falling for the Lawyer and Adam’s Boys) on my TBR, but I’m definitely looking forward to what she has in store next for the Halligans – could it be Guy?
I wish to thank Escape Publishing for providing me with an eGalley proof for review.
About the Author
Anna Clifton is a lawyer by trade and a mother to several children and a couple of cats.
Her husband is not quite sure how her compulsive writing squeezes itself into the family schedule, but knows better than to stand in the way of the woman he loves on a mission.
Anna lives in Sydney but escapes with her family as often as possible to Far North Queensland where she loves to sit with a glass of wine and watch her husband do the thing she dreads doing most — cooking!

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