Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Last Encore (It’s Always Been You #1) by Elodie Colliard

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Elodie Colliard
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


What if love is the key?

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?

There is nothing that screams romance more than two childhood best friends who haven’t spoken in years and suddenly bump into each other ten years later with all the possible longing, aches and hurt this time apart created. Filled with Canadian vibes, The Last Encore is a heartwarming, friends-to-lovers and steamy slow-burn romance that explores the themes of friendships, woman empowerment, identity, loss and learning to trust yourself.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.


I wish I had loved this a little more but there was a lot of goodness within this story too. Let’s get into it.

Romance wise. I thought Avery should have been upset much longer than a few hours when she saw Josh again? It went from I can’t believe he left me, to are we about to kiss? waaaaay too fast. It made me take a lot longer to catch up with them and appreciate other aspects of their story. I did enjoy many of the quiet moments. The necessary and deep conversations and seeing some of that spark reignite. Spice wise (this did not affect my rating but I wanted to note) was much higher than I anticipated in the explicit column. If you love that though, this is one to note for a 3-4 level spicy read! I found it mostly easy to skip over.

I adored Avery’s friend Brooke. She was the right kind of charming and fun edition. I loved how supportive she was and was truly a great person to be around. Brooke was the only super prominent side character (which was fine) so I love how well rounded she was and apart of the momentum for the story.

There seemed to be a lack of dialogue too. I found the pacing slowed an incredible amount with big paragraphs of day to day and Avery’s inner monologue. I would occasionally skim over sections that weren’t highlighting anything new to get to more prominent pieces.

I loved the multiple mental health discussions surrounding many of the characters. The importance of acknowledging how you’re doing, if you need help and how others can be of assistance to you. Many of these conversations made me feel seen in my own battles. There is a major trigger warning for a descriptive rape scene that Avery went through (in the past, but the full scene is recounted). I appreciated the author’s note in the beginning about this and the dialogue about how women handle these abhorrent situations. I especially loved how Josh helped Avery through many of these moments when memory reared it’s head.

An enjoyable read overall even if I had some issues here and there with pacing and general set-up. I LOVE this cover and look forward to checking out the next story in this series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door – high explicit; mild innuendo
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: rough parent relationships, a recounted rape and sexual assault scene, depictions of anxiety and panic attacks, grief, loss of a mother from cancer (mentioned often)

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