Series: It’s Always Been You #1
Release Date: November 1st, 2022
CW: sexual assault (on page, past incident), character with depression, scenes of anxiety, loss of a loved one
Avery Clark needs a break. Between her photography business not doing as well as she’d hoped and incessant family drama that does nothing to ease her spiking anxiety, she needs something to go her way.
And that was even before her ex-best friend, and talented pianist, Joshua Harding, ran into her during an event in Toronto, after he left her suddenly ten years ago, breaking the only promise he had swore he wouldn’t.
When an opportunity to grow her business falls into her lap, Avery decides to put her doubts and resentment aside and agrees to photograph Josh’s sister’s upcoming wedding.
As they spend more and more time together, rediscovering each other and the people they turned into, Avery realizes that maybe, the spark she felt ten years ago wasn’t just a fleeting teenage phase.
But the past is never far away, and an unknown future is terrifying. Could Avery take that leap of faith?
I will admit that the thing that drew me to Elodie’s debut was the absolutely stunning cover. And then I read the blurb and loved the idea of it. I’m a sucker for friends to lovers, especially when they are childhood friends to lovers, with a little bit of drama tossed in the middle.
Written exclusively from Avery’s perspective, The Last Encore is not only a love story between Avery and Josh, but it’s also a love story to the city of Toronto. I loved the way Elodie described the city, bringing the places and the locations to life in her own way. But also making you really eager and curious to go visit this place one day. Avery’s daily life, job and friendships take her all over the city, and as you go along with her, you find yourself falling in love with the city she calls home.
The romance between Avery and Josh is a bit of a slow burn. They were friends as kids and then Josh went off to Europe to follow his dreams of becoming a professional pianist, leaving Avery and their friend Brooke behind. Josh’s departure hurt Avery in ways she hadn’t fully grasped till he shows up in the city again. Their reunion was a combination of cute and teary, with Avery going down memory lane of all the things she shared with Josh and exploring the feelings she’s kept hidden. But it’s also the start of something pretty great. Their relationship takes a while to build up, between Avery’s lack of trust in Josh actually sticking around this time and the complicated feelings brewing in her chest. But there are so many things that keep bringing them together that allows for all those feelings to percolate and develop into something even stronger.
Please read Elodie’s note at the beginning of the book, talking about the scene regarding sexual assault to fully understand why she included it in the book. Elodie’s debut was cute and fun and perfectly steamy!
Thanks to Elodie Colliard & NetGalley for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.