February 27, 2015

Book Review: Fine-Tuning Hanna by Tiina Walsh

Fine-Tuning Hanna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Get a copy here!

So, Tiina Walsh is kind enough to give me the e-copy of this book since I didn’t win the paperback one through Goodreads First Reads.Prettily cute cover, unique title, and intriguing blurb were three main things that made me interested in reading Fine-Tuning Hanna. Oh and also the little words etched in the upper side of the book cover seemed promising a good romance book. That’s why I felt more than welcome to read this book and give my review here.
“Would saying the magic words ‘I love you’ in time have stopped it all going so wrong?”
When Hanna Suvanto first arrived in Dublin, Ireland through a two-year work exchange program as a piano-tuner with an Irishman, she couldn’t help but comparing the said country with her own, Finland. So many differences between these two countries were listed from language, its people’s personality, until the smallest thing like how buses work in each country. Despite the very well-known cold personality Finnish usually had, Hanna was actually a sociable and willing-to-learn kind of woman. She tried her best to socialize with the whole different culture of Irish people even though sometimes it didn’t go really well like what she expected it to be. No problem, though. Because she loved working here in Ireland and she had the best friend a girl could ever have, Micheál. 

Seeing how people easily judged her from her outer cold demeanor, she never thought of looking at any Irishman romantically moreover dating one of them. When Micheál dragged her to a personal development seminar, she saw the first thing that totally blew her mind ever since she came to Ireland a bit over a year ago, Sebastian O’Reilly. 
Sebastian O’Reilly was an Irish successful personal development speaker. He went from place to place, country from country to deliver the positive message about developing one’s self through interactive seminar. He was just the picture of perfect man any girl could ever dream of having. But everything that perfect from the outside was not always perfect from the inside. Sebastian could never get over the fact that he was just a lonely grown-up man with a father that resented him in every aspect of his life. And then he met Hanna, a beautiful, independent, and determined Finnish woman. He didn’t think twice and asked her phone number on the first meeting. He’d never been so sure about things in his life until now. 
After the first date, Hanna and Sebastian couldn’t deny any attractions going on between them both. Knowing Hanna had a very limited time staying in Ireland, Sebastian did everything he could to give her unforgettable six months she ever had in life. Things were great and everything ran so ever smoothly together. But when an unexpected thing happened and coerced her to return back to Finland so suddenly, they both were faced with the unclear direction of their future relationship. That’s when they realized none of them ever said those three magic words to each other. And when one’s trust was ruined completely and insecurities kept coming and darkened their circumstances, it’s all up to Hanna and Sebastian whether or not to take their further steps to a fuzzy relationship. Or was it even worth to risk everything they had at the moment? Even leaving their beloved country?

I had a fun time writing this down. It was one thing about writing a brief synopsis of the story before jotting down what I felt about the book itself. I sometimes found myself loving the book after writing the synopsis even though I felt indifferent after reading it. Or often I found myself loving the book even more than when I fell in love with the book during reading. And Fine-Tuning Hanna belonged to the latter here.
I was not quite familiar with the author’s writing style so sometimes I was surprised by certain scenes I found in this book. I never thought of finding a very detailed description of the countries here. And I surely didn’t think of getting rather descriptive side-stories about the other characters on the book. This was new.
While people said that they don’t quite familiar with Ireland and Finland, I’ve known these countries pretty well since I was in high school. Dublin is actually one of my favorite countries in the world. It started with my loving the band The Script. And I just really love Irish accent so much. I knew Finland because I was a big fan of F1 when I was still in high school. I never missed a race that was shown on television. My favorite of course, that cutie ‘Iceman’ Kimi Räikkönen and he’s from Espoo, Finland. And you know how crazy teenagers when they idolize someone to the extent that they’re so willing to learn everything about him, and that included their country and all the things related to it. That’s why I was excited to find this would be a cross country romance book between Ireland and Finland!
(And yes, I pretty much aware that my loving a country always started with hotties. I know this very well, thank you.).
Seems like I wander off of the topic…
Okay. When I found that the author loved to give many details into everything on the book, I loved that she put a lot of trivia about the countries. The things she wrote about piano-tuning and personal development were great. Tiina Walsh really knows what she’s writing about.
The book is fast-paced which is fine with me. The instant love between Hanna and Sebastian is not impossible. It actually is really possible for two people to fall for each other hard after only one date. Lots of proofs of that in real life. Ms. Walsh chooses a unique plot about cross-country romance. She shows us that cross-country romance is not any different than those of same country as long as the couple’s savvies for each other are on the table. It was just like any other relationships that trust issue and insecurity is always the hurdle for two people to get on the same track.
“Our beliefs also have to be fine-tuned in such a fashion, to allow them to play in perfect harmony with each other”

-Sebastian O’Reilly-
(Isn’t this so cute? >.<)
Sebastian’s character reminds me on a true gentleman. He didn’t hesitate of swallowing his pride for the woman he loves. His constant understanding for Hanna is endearing. He is the man who thinks thoroughly first before taking an act. I really loved it whenever Ms. Walsh put the characters to have a self-reflection upon their prior actions before confronting the others. Sebastian’s realization upon his father’s demeanor just made me love him more. And I love Hanna’s personality. She’s one fierce and brave woman. I am actually a bit envious of how she’s not afraid of showing what she truly feels inside.
Despite the appearance of lots of personal development speeches and fine-tuning piano business which most of us not familiar with, Fine-Tuning Hanna is actually a light and enjoyable read. The problem issued here was considerably soft-core. It was pretty funny too. Sometimes I found Hanna was a bit comical when she’s all giddy about Sebastian.
Generally the whole story is good. It’s just that I was hoping the side-story of the other characters wasn’t written in details because this was a book about Hanna and Sebastian. It might be best to not getting into all details about the other couple. Well, maybe it was because I couldn’t relate well with the other characters. I think it might be better to put a glimpse of their story and give them their own spin-stories in separate books, maybe.
Oh, and the ending was simple yet so cute (well, this sounds like a spoiler…)! Thanks to Ms. Tiina Walsh for introducing this Sebastian-Hanna couple to me :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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