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Review: Make a Wish

Helena Hunting gives us love, grief, and growth in the third installment of the Spark Sisters series.

Make a Wish

by Helena Hunting

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"I feel like I'm in Purgatory, Harley. I feel like I'm stuck in the past and all I want to do is move forward, but I can't."

Make a Wish by Helena Hunting is a sweet nanny romance handled with maturity. It tackles the complicated and challenging topic of death and grief realistically and sensitively, which makes it easy to connect with the characters. While not high drama, it certainly leans more toward angst than fluff.

Harley Spark is twenty at the book's onset and a live-in nanny for the somewhat newly widowed Gavin Rhodes. The charge in her care is the eighteen-month-old Peyton, who, at the time, was teething. Enter late nights and bad judgment. After Peyton tries to kiss Gavin, he soon packs up his life and moves across the state to raise his daughter closer to her maternal grandparents. Harley moves on but gets quite a shock at her family business, Spark House, during a child's birthday party the hotel is hosting. Serendipity seems to have the final say as she learns that Gavin and Peyton have moved back to town.

The book has the well-loved tropes of a single dad, nanny, age gap, and second chance but Hunting spins them in a fresh new way. Harley and Gavin have incredible chemistry -- the spice is spicy. Harley isn't some naive ingenue; she's thoughtful and authentically herself. She is compassionate yet firm in her boundaries. It's beautiful to watch her character grow in both her personal and professional life. Gavin is defined by his grief but is ultimately a good man and a good father. His journey is one of healing and acceptance.

The side characters are perfect enhancements giving balance to the main storyline. They all feel fully fleshed out and necessary to the story, even if they only make minimal appearances. In addition, there is a lovely element of familial bonds and sisterhood. Harley's sisters clearly care deeply about her. Karen (the MIL) is the exception, but Hunting ties it all together for the reader.

I experience this book via audiobook courtesy of NetGalley and Macmillan. The narrators are engaging (and I might have shed a tear or two while listening). Stella Bloom did a fantastic job voicing Harley (and Peyton). I could vividly hear the passion and emotions with which she read the story. Jason Clark has an undeniably sexy voice, but I honestly didn't feel it matched Gavin and the accent was slightly off.

While Make a Wish can be read as a standalone, I was thrilled to find out it is actually the third book in the series. I can't wait to get to know the other Spark sisters better and plan to read their books ASAP.

Make a Wish will be released on January 24, 2023.