Return of the Song by Phyllis Clark Nichols – Book Review, Preview

Posted September 28, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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“Why are you so happy?” The stranger in the grocery store stopped me to ask the question when I was eleven or twelve.

I was completely taken aback. I hadn’t realized that my smile was so evident to the world, but I knew what the smile was for. “It’s because of the song going through my mind.”

Music has always been such an intrinsic part of who I am. I find that no matter if I am actually listening to music, there is always a song floating through my head. Sometimes it is one with words that I am humming to myself and sometimes it is just a tune. Regardless, it is an ever-present companion.

Return of the Song by Phyllis Clark Nichols – Book Review, Preview

Return of the Song

by Phyllis Clark Nichols

Series: The Rockwater Suite #1
Series Rating:
Published by Gilead Publishing
Publication Date September 18, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Georgia, Kentucky Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34, 35-60
Written for: Adults
Pages: 391


When Caroline lost her love, she lost the music too.

Caroline Carlyle’s hopes and dreams were crushed when her fiancé died six weeks before their wedding. For years, she wrestled with aching loss and shattered faith, struggling to find the inspiration that once came so easily. Abandoning her half-finished piano compositions, Caroline traded her old ambitions for the comfort and familiarity of life as the town’s piano teacher.

But Caroline’s life turns upside-down when a mysterious stranger enters her life, bringing courage and fresh purpose. Inspired by her new acquaintance, Caroline embarks on a quest to track down the beloved rare piano she played as a child. Her search leads her to Rockwater, the Kentucky estate of a wealthy gentleman, where Caroline finds her heart may be composing a surprising new song.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Like a lovely melody, the words of this story lilted through my mind. It is poetry in prose. Return of the Song is such a rich, emotionally rewarding journey as Caroline finds her music again after six years of grief. There is a soft, comforting, yet melancholic, feel that had me basking in the experience. I was so hopeful through the story that things would work out well for everyone involved.

I was struck by the way so many of the characters had such deep love for one another. Sam and Angel are in their eighties, and after fifty-plus years of marriage are still deeply enamored with each other. They basically adopted Caroline and shower her with the rich kind of love and care that is rare even in families.

Ned and Fred, the bachelor twins, are a riot. With their Southern manners and small-town ways, they were simply charming. Though they can’t boast genius IQs, their hearts are so noble and heroic. And their conversations are always amusing.

There is a mystery at the beginning of the story – its resolution rocks Caroline’s world. Music and pain bind her with an unexpected new friend and their relationship changes the direction of her life.

The search for the piano she had as a child leads her in a surprising direction that just might give her back her music.

There is a timeless quality to the book. At one point in my reading, I found myself thinking that this could have almost taken place at any time if cell phones weren’t mentioned.

If you haven’t been able to guess by what I have said already, I highly recommend this book. It is one of the best I have read this year. I am excited by the fact this is the first in a series, and from the sneak peek at the end know that we will learn more about Caroline and her friends in the future.



About Phyllis Clark Nichols

Phyllis Clark Nichols’s character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions using the imagined residents of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a strong faith and a love for nature, art, music, and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment . . . often through surprisingly serendipitous events.

Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Born during a hurricane, she is no stranger to the winds of change: In addition to her life as a novelist, Phyllis is a seminary graduate, concert pianist, and cofounder of a national cable network with health- and disability-related programming. Regardless of the role she’s playing, Phyllis brings creativity and compelling storytelling.

She frequently appears at conventions, conferences, civic groups, and churches, performing half-hour musical monologues that express her faith, joy, and thoughts about life—all with the homespun humor and gentility of a true Southern woman.

Phyllis currently serves on several nonprofit boards. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband.

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