Cover Image: The Words We Lost

The Words We Lost

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Member Reviews

WOW THIS BOOK! {/end capslock of doom}

Nicole Deese is at her best and finest with this read. I was drawn in from the get go, and caught myself slowing down many a time–not only to enjoy her way with words, but to savor the read; I didn’t want it to end!

Of course, its Western Washington/Kitsap Peninsula setting made me fangirl a bit, or maybe a lot. (I’ll admit I was also a bit nitpicky on a few references to the Pacific Ocean versus Puget Sound and the many bays between the two, but that is a very minor point. :D)

I’m so glad to see this is labeled as a book one…indicating there’s hope for more! This particular storyline wrapped up very nicely–no lingering cliffhangers (thank you very much)–but there are always more stories that could be told. Very, very, very excited for them to come down the pike!

Suuuuuch a good read and one I highly recommend.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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I love this book. I don't knowingly read books that will make me cry, but this book is both painful and beautiful. A captivating tale of regret, grief, and love in a masterful story.

"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.

Deeply romantic and emotional. Three friends. Two broken promises. One missing 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 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?

If you're looking for a deep, heartfelt story that tug on your heartstrings and bring the reader along for a life-changing story, The Words We Lost is it! This story and the Author's Note are a Must Read.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
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“Keep it,” he said. 
“I can’t. It’s your favorite.”
“Which is why it makes sense for you to have it, since you’re my favorite, too.”

-childhood best friend’s, second chance romance, flashbacks ✍🏼📑👩‍💻
-a present from a friend that’s passed brings Joel and Ingrid back together 
-the plot was intriguing and the book within a book concept was interesting! At first it was hard to follow but then it picked up and I quite enjoyed 
-gut punched and sooo much angst, was not prepared for this kind of sadness but well worth it ❤️
-thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for this ARC ✨

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I have thoroughly enjoyed some of Nicole Deese’s books, and there have been a couple that I have struggled to connect with.  As much as I enjoyed the characters in The Words We Lost, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get lost in the story.  I have found lately that I get annoyed when too much information is withheld for too long, with seemingly little reason, and I felt like that happened a bit in this book.  I really, really, really wanted to love this story because I was so intrigued by the description and I really did like the characters, but I’m stuck just liking this one.  But, I know so many readers will love things about this book that I didn’t, so I encourage anyone who enjoys contemporary romance with deep themes to give the Words We Lost a try!  3.5/5 stars

CW: death of a friend, workplace abuse, loss of a parent, addiction, trauma response

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I loved this book; it kept me engrossed to the end and after a certain point I simply could not put it down until I had finished it. It is at once a romance as well as a psychological study of a group of people grieving the death of a very special person. It also has elements of a mystery and even a little suspense toward the end. The author did a masterful job combining all these elements into a tightly woven novel.

The story focuses on three best friends: Ingrid (Indy) Erickson, Joel Campbell, and his cousin Cecelia (Cece) Campbell. As the book opens, Cece has passed away during surgery to remove a brain tumor. The surviving two friends have tried to cope with this loss as best they could but the novel’s focal character, Indy, is having the worst time. Her job as Senior Acquisitions Editor at Fog Harbor Books is in jeopardy because the death first of her father (whose death she partially blames on Joel) and then Cece has left Indy with a kind of brain fog that makes concentration and reading nearly impossible. 

Having been raised by a somewhat dysfunctional sea captain single father, Captain Hal, Indy lived a rootless life until fate brought them to Port Townsend. In Cece and Joel, Indy found the kind of family she had long wished to have. But with the passing of Cece, Indy is shattered. On top of that, the final book in Cece’s wildly popular fantasy series has not been submitted nor has it been located.

Then three months after Cece’s death, Joel shows up at Indy’s office to inform her that the two of them must show up at Cece’s lawyer’s office for the reading of a special letter from their friend. Indy hopes that it is the lost manuscript. Instead it is a memoir penned during Cece’s final weeks outlining how the three of them became friends and their life through the years. For Joel and Indy it becomes both a trip down memory lane and a kind of treasure hunt as Indy desparately tries to save her job and career by locating THE FATE OF KINGS, Cece’s final book. Along the way the truth comes out about the death of Indy’s father as well as why the Campbell family has been harassed since Cece’s death.

I am extremely grateful for NetGalley for the privilege of reading this book and recommend it very highly. It was well worth reading!
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I loved this book so much, I didn’t want it to end. It was such a beautiful story about friendship, love, loss, grief, and forgiveness. I felt like I was part of the story and knew the characters. I felt their joy, pain, suffering, and wanted them to be happy. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
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This was such a beautiful story. The characters were amazing. If you read this a don’t immediately fall in love with Joel, then there’s seriously something wrong with you. He was almost perfect. 
I really enjoyed the character development, especially when it came to the main character. Indy’s growth and healing throughout was so good and well written. 

I normally try to write longer reviews, but listen this book has to be read and not read about! I will without a doubt recommend this and I will definitely be re-reading it at some point.
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This book has all the makings of a classic. Such a complex, intricate story with characters who will stay with me forever! The growth of the main characters is breathtakingly beautiful, and the secondary characters have so much depth to offer as well. I loved the story-within-a-story motif! I loved the unexpected twists and turns! I loved the subtle yet powerful faith element of this story. I really just loved everything about this book! Bring your tissues and prepare for some sleepless nights because you won't be able to put this one down!

I pre-ordered a paperback of this book months ago then jumped at the chance to read a pre-release electronic copy from NetGalley. I've already re-read the ending twice! I can't wait till my actual book gets here so I can read the whole thing again!
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Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

This was my first time reading a book by Nicole Deese, but it definitely won’t be my last! I loved this book and the depth of this story.

The Words We Lost reminded me a little bit of Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren except that this story dealt even more with grief and had the added bonus of Christian faith elements. It’s been a while since I’ve found so many memorable quotes within a book, but the writing of this story was just so beautiful.

This book broke my heart in all the best ways. The grief that both Ingrid and Joel had to deal with was sometimes hard to read about. They both had gone through so much, but I’m glad that their difficult circumstances are what brought them back together. 

One of my favorite quotes from this book was Joel talking to Ingrid saying, “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.” This is a great example of what Joel and Ingrid’s relationship was like. I loved how much Joel cared for Ingrid even when she tried to push him away.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you like second chance romances and stories that deal with hard topics. If you need content warnings before reading this story, I have included them down below. 

Content warnings: grief, death, alcoholism, drugs, & harassment
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It's not often that I pick up a book and am immediately hooked but The Words We Lost is just such a book. Nicole Deese weaves sorrow, grief, love, and regret together in a masterful story. Told through a story within a story frame, Deese's story takes readers from California to the beautiful seaside of Washington. 
Ingrid is struggling with her job and merely getting by after the loss of her best friend CeCe. She can't fathom living without her vivacious friend and she can't fathom returning to Port Townsend yet after an ultimatum from her boss, that's exactly what happens. Here she and CeCe's cousin Joel must relive the past to find the present and CeCe has left them one last treasure hunt.
Beautiful scenery mixes with heartfelt characters to create a wonderful story of how the human mind copes with loss.
I'm grateful to have received an advanced copy through NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are my own and freely given
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I couldn’t put this book down. And its so hard to write to this review without giving so much away, lol. This book is about grieving, second chances and friendship. We have Ingrid, who is an editor and ever since her best friend Cece has passes she has been going through it. Her boss is giving her an ultimatum, she must find the last book of the book series. And this takes her back home, a place where she hasn’t been in years, where she must confront a lot of her past issues. Cece had something up her sleeve though, and it was something that Joel and Ingrid had to do together now that she’s no longer there. Together secrets were revealed, and reconciliation was starting between Joel and Ingrid and she finally found what she came to town for, and then some. This book was just magical. I LOVED the characters, even Ingrid’s personal growth, I’m all over the place with this review but it was just EVERYTHING. If you want to give contemporary Christian romance a try I would recommend this one.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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This book took the reader on a roller coaster of emotions and topics.  The friendship of the three main characters was remarkable despite the many hills and valleys in their relationships.  Joel and CeeCee were my favorite characters!

Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc.  The opinions are my own.
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The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese is one woman's road back to friendship and self after depression, grief and professional failure. The main character feels like every woman. If you've ever lost a best friend then you can identify with Indy and the state she finds herself in after her best friend Cecelia's death. This is book 1 in the upcoming Fog Harbor series. What an emotionally full, clean romance. It has everything you want in contemporary fiction: hunt for a lost manuscript, second chance at love and healing. I recommend this to everyone.
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This is an emotional story of love and loss and moving on instead of being pulled under by grief. The pacing was a bit off, and it could've benefitted from a tighter edit, especially in the beginning. The grief angle could be triggering for some readers. This is not a light read, by any means. Thankfully, there is a light/faith/hope angle that helps balance things a bit.
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I thought the writing in this book was beautiful and loved that it was set in the Pacific Northwest. It spoke about grief in a poignant way I just could’ve avoided the God talk (but that’s just for me!)
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I've never read anything by Nicole Deese before, but the premise for The Words We Lost sounded both heartbreaking and interesting, so I was pleased to have the chance to read an ARC. Now that I've finished, this will certainly not be the last book by Deese that I read!

TWWL is a story that expertly blends grief, brokenness, love, redemption, friendship, and hope into something that will have readers smiling through their tears. Ingrid and Joel are so deep in their grief, but their mission--to find their friend's lost manuscript--forces them back together to face the hurt and the relationship they once had. Neither character is perfect, but they both feel incredibly real and relatable. The secondary characters are quite well-developed, too, and I can't wait to see who are cast as the stars in the next book in the series. (Fingers crossed for Chip x Allie!)

This story handles flashbacks in an interesting way, and the information that is provided through these scenes provides a look into the mind of Cece, Ingrid's best friend and Joel's cousin. Cece's death is the catalyst for the entire story, so it feels strange that she's not there, but through her memories, her personality, creativity, and love for her family--both by blood and by bond--truly shine. Cece was the one who brought together the three friends, and her clever methods for bringing people together even after she's gone make her a fun character.

While this is a heavy book, it's filled with reminders that God is with us in the grieving and the brokenness. He brings people and circumstances into our lives during the hard times to help lift us up and bring us hope, and that's exactly what happens for Ingrid, Joel, and the rest of Cece's family and friends. The characters' faith is woven organically into the story and in a way that isn't preachy, which may help this tale reach a wider audience. 

The Words We Lost isn't exactly what I would call a "happy" book, but there is happiness throughout as well as a happy ending. However, grief is a major factor in the characters' lives, and while that's a difficult topic, Deese handles it with grace and honesty, giving readers a chance to mourn with Ingrid and Joel as well as to celebrate the happy memories they share. If you're looking for a book that will truly make you laugh and cry all at once, The Words We Lost is the book for you.
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When I pick up a book and can’t put it down, I know it’s good. That’s The Words We Lost, by Nicole Deese. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the first pages, but that’s all it took to reel me into a story that became real in my mind and heart. 

Ingrid Erikson, a senior acquisitions editor for Fog Harbor Publishing, struggles to deal with the grief of unexpectedly losing her closest friend and top-selling author, Cecelia Campbell, some months back. This loss has devastated her personally, as well as professionally, when she has a rare trauma response that prevents her from reading fiction. 

When Joel Campbell, the man she once thought would give her happily-ever-after, gives her a sealed envelope, Ingrid finds herself back in Port Townsend, Washington, retrieving a package Cecelia left for both her and Joel. Ingrid hopes it’s the missing manuscript Cecelia never turned in to the publisher. Instead, the manuscript is an unlocking of many secrets that answer some of Ingrid’s life questions. 

As she and Joel go on a hunt for the missing manuscript, Ingrid comes to terms with many things from her past and discovers some truths with the power to transform her future. 

I loved this story. Though Cece wasn’t a living character in the book, her presence is made known. Port Townsend came to life for me as well. Deese does a beautiful job of describing the town in a way that makes it another character. The relationships between the characters is nuanced and authentic. And the secondary characters are wonderful!

This story holds some unexpected plot twists, which makes it fun. But, it also touches readers on an emotional level with its depth and honest exploration of grief and surviving it. As Ingrid and Joel work through their grief, I laughed, and I cried (probably more cried). 

The themes of learning how to survive grief and come to a place where peace can be found spoke to my heart. And the theme of how deep friendship can go radiated from the pages. 

If you enjoy contemporary fiction with a romantic thread and depth, as well as a very satisfying ending, pick up The Words We Lost. 

***I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to share a review. All opinions are my own.
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When the shock and trauma of losing her best friend cause Ingrid Erikson to lose her ability to read, she finds ways to hold on to her dream job as a senior acquisitions editor for Fog Harbor Books. A helpful assistant, rehearsing her pitches to the publishing board, and starting counseling have all helped her stumble along. But her luck runs out.

Ingrid’s only hope for keeping her job forces her to do the one thing she promised never to do. Return to the small town on the Washington coast she called home during her tumultuous teen years. The place she found her best friend, Cecilia Campbell; the place she found and lost her true love, Cecilia’s cousin Joel.

When Joel shows up in San Francisco with a letter from Cecilia, Ingrid knows she must return. Her boss agrees to Ingrid’s absence if Ingrid promises to find Cecilia’s last manuscript—the final in Cecilia’s wildly popular fantasy series. 

Going home means facing feelings she couldn’t deal with a decade ago. It means spending time with Joel reading a memoir of their lives. Each day reveals clues—clues to the manuscript and clues to the truth of what happened to her father. 

If Ingrid and Joel can make it to the end of the memoir, they might gain treasure beyond their wildest imaginations. 

What I Loved About This Book 

Deese delves into the healing power of friendships, forgiveness, and love in this tender novel. The mystery of the manuscript, avoiding invasive fans, the antics of a loyal assistant, and new friendships keep the reader riveted to the book from beginning to end. We all have regrets in our lives, and The Words We Lost provides a treasure map for relationship do-overs and second chances. 

Fans of Erin Bartles and Denise Hunter will enjoy this book.
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I loved this book. 

Faith-based and at times heartbreaking, this beautifully written story deals with love, loss, second chances and above all the power of friendships. 

Joel, his cousin Cecelia and Ingrid, a girl in need of roots after growing up with her father’s port-to-port jobs, have been bfs since teenagers until a tragedy strikes that pulls Indy and Joel (who have fallen in love) apart. 

Five years later, following another heartbreaking loss Joel and Indy are forced to reunite to carry out a request. Secrets long buried and surprising revelations come to light, but will they help or hinder their tremulous start to forge a new beginning. 

The characters are well-defined, relatable and vulnerable in their humanness, and the losses, while devastating, are also reminders of how much others in our lives can mean to us. There are some hauntingly insightful/deeply-felt/gorgeous passages as the characters (especially the threesome) experience growth through life’s journey of change. 

I’ll definitely be looking at this author’s backlist and as she goes forward as well. Very well done and recommended.

My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Bethany House for providing the free early arc of The Words We Lost for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
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How ironic that I'm struggling to find the words to review a book about lost words. Ha! If I could only use one, I'd describe Nicole Deese's new release as exquisite. This is a powerful, moving story about love and loss and finding our way forward when grief threatens to take us down. I loved the structure. This is technically dual time, yet written in a unique and compelling way, taking readers on the journey with Ingrid as we see her life in real-time. Yet we slowly come to a deeper understanding of all that she's been through as circumstances force her to confront the life she left behind.
CeCe's contribution to the story is well-crafted. I cried several times and enjoyed a few laugh-out-loud moments too. Joel is a fantastic hero, by the way. No one tell Silas Whittaker that Joel has knocked him from his pedestal of Favorite Nicole Deese heroes, please.
In case you couldn't tell, I highly recommend The Words We Lost. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary copy. All opinions shared here are my own.
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