Colliard, Elodie. The Last Encore. self-published, 2022. 336 pp. ISBN 9781778137907.
Avery, a photographer, is recovering from multiple traumas: sexual assault in high school and the abrupt disappearance of her best friend shortly thereafter, and more recently, her mother’s mental health decline and her father’s dissolution of their marriage. She has mixed feelings when her best friend from high school, a talented pianist, reappears in her life after ten years of silence. Hired to play at a benefit where Avery is accompanying her father as his date (even though she’s furious at him for the affair he had), Josh is the musical equivalent of the keynote speaker and plays a song to tug at her heartstrings before he even knows she is in the audience. They reconnect, but the balance of indignation and let’s just forget about our conflict and our chemistry for not to try to restore the friendship, is not quite believable. The anxiety rings true and so does the trauma, but the processing isn’t on the page to see.
Minor details like Avery’s dad working for a hospital and not connecting with family if they are brought there in an emergency, and feeding her pet cat raw fish (a strict no-no!) make the whole novel a little less believable. Typos, poor grammar, and more telling than showing are the hallmarks of lack of professional editing.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #TheLastEncore from #NetGalley.