Author: Nicole Deese
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Fog Harbor Romance #1
Release Date: April 11, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
Three friends. Two broken promises. One missing manuscript.
As a senior acquisitions editor for Fog Harbor Books in San Francisco, Ingrid Erikson has rejected many a manuscript for lack of defined conflict and dramatic irony--two elements her current life possesses in spades. In the months following the death of her childhood best friend and international bestselling author Cecelia Campbell, Ingrid has not only lost her ability to escape into fiction due to a rare trauma response, but she's also desperate to find the closure she's convinced will come with Cecelia's missing final manuscript.
After Ingrid jeopardizes her career, she fears her future will remain irrevocably broken. But then Joel Campbell--the man who shattered her belief in happily-ever-afters--offers her a sealed envelope from his late cousin, Cecelia, asking Joel and to put their differences aside and retrieve a mysterious package in their coastal Washington hometown.
Honoring Cecelia's last request will challenge their convictions and test their loyalties, but through it all, will Ingrid and Joel be brave enough to uncover a twice-in-a-lifetime love?
Reviewer: Ewurabena Wilson
This touching novel has left an indelible mark on my mind. This novel has been shelved as a book to be read again.
Nicole Deese’s The Words We Lost is a story that explores bereavement and the impact of grief on those affected by it. What makes this novel stand out from similar stories is the vividness of the characters’ emotions.
There were times it felt like the author was writing a first-hand report of a factual story. Set in San Francisco and Port Townsend, Ingrid is an editor whose world has been upended after losing her best friend, Cece. An invitation from a lost loved one and the search for a missing manuscript lead her to confront her past and, in the process, find healing.
The endearing friendship between Cece, Joel, and Ingrid is one that brought me close to tears. It was a delight reading how the author skilfully incorporated lost love, friendship, grief, healing, and second chance themes in the novel.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get lost in the world of publishing, friendship, and love.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
“I’m learning that much like love, grief is meant to be shared.”
At times poignant and heart-wrenching and at other times hopeful and heart-warming, The Words We Lost had me feeling all the emotions.
Extraordinarily talented author Nicole Deese has penned a riveting story of friendship, second-chance romance, grief, forgiveness, and ultimately healing and hope. She easily swept me away to Port Townsend, Washington. She introduced me to the area and unforgettable, carefully crafted, multi-layered characters. Through her impeccable writing, I could feel and visualize the beautiful setting and get to know the people there.
Cecelia Campbell, Ingrid “Indy” Erikson, and Joel Campbell had a remarkable, close friendship. The story is mainly told from Indy’s point of view, but I was very intrigued by the way the author included a manuscript Cece wrote for Indy and Joel that told the story of the three of them from Cece’s point of view. It gave valuable insight into their backstory and friendship. Although Cece had passed away when the book begins, we get to know her thoughts and feelings and the backstory of the three friends through the manuscript. It added a unique perspective through her eyes.
“No heartache has ever gone unseen, and no darkness is ever too solid for light to overcome.”
“I can’t erase the darkness for you, but I can be the one to hold the light when you’re ready to come home.”
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy clean contemporary romance. It perfectly blends compelling characters, a fascinating plot, and swoony romance. Just a warning, though--you may want to have a few tissues handy. This is definitely on my list of favorite books and one for the keeper shelf!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
Another stunning novel from Nicole Deese.
This is a story of friendship and grief. Ms. Deese has crafted Cece Campbell as a gifted writer and friend to Ingrid and Joel. She is the kind of friend I would love to have, personifying the Bible's love: always seeking the best, being there for you, unselfish, loyal, fun-loving, and steadfast. The grief depicted affects each character differently. A mother for her daughter, a cousin for his best friend, and a daughter for her father. “There are no winners in grief- only survivors.” Grief is complicated and needs to be worked through, not covered up.
There is so much to this story. The characters are real in how they behave and handle difficulties. Life is messy, and there are no easy answers. But after some soul searching, they see that forgiveness is for the benefit of all. “No heartache has ever gone unseen and no darkness has ever been too dark for light to overcome.” The underlying faith of the main characters is played out in the story. I like the whole Campbell clan and the way they run their hotel. They are principled, kind, and honest.
There is interesting information about the publishing business and added mystery of a missing manuscript. Through it all, Cece's love for her friends takes center stage as she speaks from the grave in a memoir to Joel and Ingrid.
This story is packed with things to ponder and spiritual lessons to be learned.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Joy Hannabass
Wow! Ingrid Erikson's life is totally turned upside down with the passing of her best friend and bestselling author, Cecelia Campbell. Leaving her friends and her only love, she moves miles away, hoping she can build a better life. But when Joel shows up at her job in California, Ingrid's life is in an uproar again for several reasons.
I didn't read any reviews on this book, so I had no idea what I was getting into reading The Words We Lost. This is my first read by Nicole Deese as well. I was totally immersed in this story from the beginning. The unique characters created by the author have their own personalities, and each character's strengths and weaknesses lend to the depth of the story. I like how Joel and Ingrid were so back and forth with their relationship. I feel this added more to their lasting feelings for each other.
Nicole Deese is a phenomenal author, and I love her writing style. She sure did some exceptional research and writing with this book. I love how she is attentive to details in each scene, letting her readers feel like they are in the story with her characters. Reading a book about a famous author and her series was interesting. The storyline about the missing manuscript Cecelia left behind was brilliant, and I loved following it throughout the story. I think the author handles the heartwrenching grief the characters felt in a really nice way, weaving together an ending that will please everyone. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy clean Christian fiction.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"We can't change the time we've spent, just how we choose to spend the time we have left."
Wow. I've been a fan of Nicole Deese's writing for some time now, but every time I read a new book from this fabulous author, I'm astounded all over again by how beautifully she weaves raw, aching human emotions into a masterpiece. The magic she wields with her written words is beyond description. I loved the contrast between Ingrid's first-person, present-tense narrative and Cece's third-person, past-tense journey of their friendship. The author stitches overwhelming grief, guilt, regret, anger, hopelessness, and despair alongside loyalty, undying friendship, faith, love, hope, and a second chance to create an unforgettable quilt of forgiveness and redemption. It's a must-read for all women's fiction and contemporary romance fans everywhere.
Ingrid was an easy heroine to love, even in her utterly broken state. Her past was difficult, but the reader doesn't know the depth of her pain and shame until halfway through the book. I loved how the author drew me in and pieced together Ingrid's story one event at a time, wrapping each hurt with love and care from Cece and Joel. And Joel.....he's a completely sigh-worthy hero. Though he doesn't have a voice in the storyline, his loyal, steadfast, compassionate heart shines clearly through his actions. And Cece is a mighty force in both of their lives, even if we don't actually get to meet her.
This book definitely goes on my Top 20 reads of 2023 list.
I received the book from Bethany House via Interviews and Reviews. I was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Kristina Hall
If you’re looking for a deep contemporary romance, The Words We Lost is it!
This is the third book I’ve read by Nicole Deese. Unlike the other two I’ve read by her, The Words We Lost contained a split-time element and a prevalent theme of grief and its effects on the characters’ lives. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think, but The Words We Lost drew me in. Ingrid was such a well-developed, sympathetic character. Even though she didn’t always make good decisions, I felt for her. I did have a little trouble connecting Ingrid in the present section of the story with Ingrid in the past section, but that got better as I read on.
A missing first draft and an unfinished series gave the plot an intriguing twist for a reader like me. I appreciated that Nicole Deese kept the romance and language clean. Her descriptive yet clear writing style worked great for this novel.
Overall, The Words We Lost was an enjoyable read that I’d recommend to those who like Christian fiction and contemporary romance. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series!
Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. My opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
This was my first time reading a book by Nicole Deese. She is a talented writer. Her characters jump off the page, and her prose is exquisite in its delivery. With grace and care, she has tackled the subject of grief wrapped in an engaging story.
The author is very descriptive in her writing, and it made me feel like I was right there, smelling the sea air and visiting the shops of Fog Harbor. I loved the way the author introduces us to Cece and how she tells a story about her two favourite people - Ingrid and Joel. As they read this new manuscript together, Ingrid learns to let her guard down and how to love and trust again.
After reading several other reviews, I expected to need a box of tissues while reading. Sadly, the book brought up no emotions within me, even though I have lost my mother and at least a dozen other people dear to me in my lifetime. Death is always lurking around the corners of my life, so I had a hard time understanding the kind of grief Ingrid was experiencing.
That said, the story will grip you as will the characters and the mystery of the missing manuscript. With themes of faith, grief and learning to trust again, you will enjoy The Words We Lost if you like contemporary romance.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest review.
Reviewer: Charity Henico
Oh. My. Goodness. I have no idea where to start with this book. I had no idea what to expect, and I had no idea how I had never read a book by Nicole Deese before.
This book is labeled romance, but it's so much more than that. This book is about grief, learning how to grieve, and how to forgive. As I'm still mourning my grandparents' passing last May, I cried all through. This book was really hard but really healing for me to read.
This is an emotional roller-coaster to read, and I was completely engrossed in every part of the story.
I don't know what else to say about a book that touched my soul as this one did. I am so grateful I was able to read it.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. No positive review was required, and all opinions were my own.
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