I am so happy to recommend to all my readers the book Return of the Song by Phyllis Clark Nichols. Every now and then we find a book that we can simply enjoy and feel uplifted at the end. This is one of those. Featuring Caroline, a young woman who has lost her love and her music, the story also involves an autistic musical genius in the body of a little girl. I am excited that this is only the first of The Rockwater Series and that I will meet these and many other interesting characters of Phyllis’ creation again.
The tragic death of her fiancé only weeks before their wedding throws Caroline into sorrow and despair. An accomplished musician, she had written a song for her bridegroom, his wedding gift. Only, she hadn’t finished it before his death. She continues to play the piano at a small town church, to teach piano, and to respond to the needs around her. But all the time her heart feels empty of the music she loved so much. She can no longer compose. She plays more like a robot and, though her music is beautiful, those close to her like Sam and Angela in whose cottage she lives, recognize the depth of her sorrow.
Caroline remembers the joy she once had playing the piano her father gave her when a child. When hard times came he had to sell the piano, not just any piano, a 1902 Hazelton Brothers piano, worth more money by now than Caroline could possibly afford. She has a dear baby grand, but she wonders where her old piano is. She wants to know who owns it now and maybe, just maybe, be able to play it one more time.
As if trying to track down a rare piano is not enough mystery for Caroline, she has a midnight visitor who plays perfectly her own unfinished song which no one else has ever even heard, then dashes away before Caroline can see who it is.
Following the trail of her old piano brings surprising and life changing results. Not only does the search take her from her small Georgia town of Moss Point to a dream mansion in Kentucky, but it takes her to a friendship with wealthy businessman and music enthusiast Roderick Adair who has his own deep longings.
Mystery and pathos, laughter and tears, all are part of this lovely story. Phyllis Clark Nichols has woven a wonderful tale. Your faith will be refreshed when you lay it down. Read it soon so you’ll be ready for Suite #2 of the Rockwater stories.
Phyllis is herself an accomplished pianist. She “enjoys art, books, nature, cooking, travel, and stories about ordinary people who live extraordinary lives.” She lives with her husband in the Texas Hill Country. Her other books include Christmas at Grey Sage and Silent Days, Holy Night (October 2018). I’m going out to look for that last one!