Review: The Lovely Return by Carian Cole


"Oh, what a lovely return it will be, 
Slipping quietly from there to here, 
among whispers and memories, 
To find you again, my eternal love, 
with your beautiful smile 
Waiting always for me."

Carian Cole is back, and what a lovely return it has turned out to be, not that I had any doubts. It's been more than two and a half years since Don't Kiss the Bride, which was my last read from Cole, so I've been eagerly anticipating her next release for a while. With the wait finally over and having finished The Lovely Return, I have no qualms in declaring how wondrous a love story this gifted author has given her readers. This standalone reiterates just how extraordinary Cole's storytelling was and continues to be.

The Lovely Return shares the tale of Alex Fox, who at twenty-one, has a life he cherishes. He's married to the only girl who owns his heart, Brianna, and they're about to welcome their daughter, Lily, into the world. But that was all before tragedy struck, and life as Alex knew it was over. He made one wish that night--one that he never could have imagined would come true the way it would six years later when a little girl named Penny Rose shows up at his home studio. Over time, Alex and Penny forge a one-of-a-kind kinship, and it shifts into something more. She has always felt misplaced; what if her place was always meant to be by Alex's side? Is his heart tied to hers, or is her mind playing tricks?

I went into this book without having read the blurb, so I didn't realize that December 5th was a date of significance in the story--and it's on that very date that I began reading (and finished) The Lovely Return. There were some truly heartrending moments in the story, and it was impossible for me to not empathize with what Alex and Penny, as well as a number of peripheral characters, went through. This was an emotional and thought-provoking read for me, probably because grief has been a constant for me this year. The Lovely Return is a reminder that love can and does ultimately finds a way. Five-plus stars.

Date Read: 05 December 2023

Learn more about Carian Cole.

Purchase The Lovely Return on Amazon.

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