Book Review: The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese

Posted April 29, 2024 by meezcarrie in 5 stars, Book Review, Christian, contemporary, Nicole Deese, romance, women's fiction / 8 Comments

The Words We Lost book review

The Words We Lost by Nicole DeeseTHE WORDS WE LOST by Nicole Deese
Fog Harbor Romance #1
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)

PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2023
PAGES: 384

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?


Other Books In This Series

The Roads We Follow by Nicole Deese

“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’m not even sure where to start in expressing the depth of emotion The Words We Lost stirred in me. In equal turns profoundly moving and deliciously romantic, it fully immersed me in these layered memories of three best friends – the stories that connect them, the raw & complicated dynamic of grief that separated them, and the true treasure that will draw them back together in unexpected ways. The mystery involving the missing manuscript not only delivers pure bookish joy for readers, it also serves as a conduit for all of the above and a compelling reason to keep turning these pages on its own merit.

How much do I love Joel and Ingrid together? Let me count the ways… First, there’s something so delightfully swoony about Joel even when he’s just standing there – he exudes a steadiness that makes you want to lean into his strength and a ‘she’s it for me’ love for Ingrid from adolescence to adulthood that left me fanning more than once. There’s just something soooooo unbelievably romantic about loving someone unconditionally for so long, especially when it’s done from a distance. Along those lines, I love cheering on a hard-won victory and that’s what Joel & Ingrid’s relationship was for me throughout this book. Sometimes the win came as a couple of tiny steps forward… or as a long-overdue conversation about painful things… or (my personal favorite) a ‘finally’ kiss that expresses all the pent-up sorrow and longing and passion and love when words just won’t do it. Joel and Ingrid’s love story is all this and so much more because it’s part of a larger tapestry woven with threads of grief and faith and finding home.

Bottom Line: Nothing I can say about The Words We Lost will come close to doing it justice. It’s a story that needs to be experienced for yourself – just keep those tissues handy because I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to make it all the way through without finding tears in your eyes at least once. Nicole Deese is a master at perfectly placed words that speak to my soul, evoking a wealth of emotions that involve me completely in each new story – mind, heart, imagination, and spirit – and this one is my favorite so far. I connected so personally with Deese’s portrayal of grief and of learning how to live with it as a companion instead of a bully, but I also adored the well-timed humor, the sweet second chance romance, the endearing characters (Chip!!!), the inside look at the publishing industry, and the depth of love on these pages. This is truly a masterpiece of a story, and I highly recommend it!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / in a class by itself

KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion

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Nicole Deese

Nicole Deese is a Christy and Carol Award-winning, bestselling author of hope-filled, humorous, and heartfelt contemporary romance novels. When she’s not sorting out character arcs and story plots of her own, she can usually be found listening to an audiobook and multitasking at least four different chores at once. She’s a hoarder of sparkling water, a lover of long walks and even longer talks with friends, and a seeker of fun and adventure at all times. She lives in small-town, Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two freakishly tall teenage sons, and one princess daughter with the heart of a warrior. Find her online at

What about you? What makes you want to read The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese?

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8 responses to “Book Review: The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese

  1. I love Nicole Deese, and I love this line from your review: I connected so personally with Deese’s portrayal of grief and of learning how to live with it as a companion instead of a bully…

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