Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Come Back to Me (The Lost and Founds #5) by Edmond Manning

360 pages
Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


After years of lying, scheming, and dangerous manipulation, Vin Vanbly finally gets what's coming to him: love. 

How can he survive unstoppable, uncontrollable love when his very nature demands he control everything? Clues about his one true love—tantalizingly hinted at in each of the books in The Lost and Founds series—come together in four life-changing stories. 

In No Kings, a sex hookup with a parking lot stranger reveals more about Vin’s life as a Lost King and his destiny than he could have dreamed. In King Fitch, Vin meets the last king in his long legacy, one final weekend before he withdraws from the world to an anonymous Latin American jungle. The Lost Ones recounts a terrifying kidnapping by street thugs from Vin’s past. In King Malcolm the Restorer, Vin’s mysterious relationship with his older brother—and the soul-crushing secret which drew them together—is finally revealed.

Through it all, Vin Vanbly struggles to survive. But what if he is destined for more than mere survival? Is he finally ready to embrace the truth and remember who he was always meant to be? Once there were a tribe where every man was the one true king and every woman the one true queen…


“It’s important a man makes his heart bigger throughout his whole life, to create room for all the love in its many forms.”

I just deleted almost 1200 words of the review I started to write for this book. Yes, you read that right, I did say ‘started to write’. That version contained detailed descriptions of everything I loved about Come Back to Me and I fully intend to keep it, as a reminder for myself. It won’t do as a review for others though, especially not for those who haven’t read this book yet.

Spoilers are, of course, always bad. One of the great joys I get from reading a book lies in discovering the truth in the story, in the moments I didn’t see coming, and those surprises that touch me deeply. I rarely look at reviews before reading a book, because being deprived of that joy hurts. So this will have to be a review without spoilers. And that’s a bit of a problem because it basically means I can tell you little to nothing about this story, except to say that it was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be and also so much more than I’d dreamed it could be.

You see, the four stories contained in this book are nothing but revelations of the always suspected but never confirmed truths. It was filled with moments I didn’t see coming, and yet made perfect sense as soon as they happened. Moments that touched me deeply in so many ways and so many times, I honestly wouldn’t know where to begin.

I had hopes for this book. I wanted to at last get to know Vin better. While I knew his back story would hurt, I also knew I needed those details in order to fully appreciate Vin’s magnificence. I was right on both counts. I’ve been rooting for a happy ending for Vin from the moment he was first introduced, and with every subsequent book, with every goodbye after a King Weekend, my need for his happiness grew stronger. Does he get it? That’s for me to know and for you to find out, but I will tell you that the ending, like the rest of the book, was perfect.

These are the stories of Vin’s journey towards his own crowning. It comes with ups and downs. I saw Vin lower and more afraid than I’d ever seen him before and yet, it was exactly what I needed in order to see all of Vin, and, more importantly, everything Vin needed to finally see all of himself. At the same time, I’ve never known Vin to be this playful, easy-going, and, dare I say it, happy either. This book forces both the reader and the characters to experience all the emotions. I laughed, I cried. I love and I hated. I feared and lost myself, mesmerised by the story and the revelations it brought. I whispered, shouted and pleaded with Vin and his co-stars, urging them on and trying to hold them back.

No, I’m not going to tell you anything about the story except to say that I was delighted that Vin at last got to connect with the man who could see:

The ‘grief boy who lives behind Vin’s eyes.

Yes, I had high hopes for this book and I can honestly say, Come Back to Me exceeded every single one of those. And while books probably can’t be kinged, this one, like its prequels, stands out as royalty among printed works.

Edmond Manning has, in me, found himself a fan for life. Here’s an author who demands everything, from himself, from his characters and from his readers. But in return he gives it all. He makes me wonder, fall in love, and more than anything, he makes me want to be and do better. Vin for all his (perceived) flaws is one of the most inspirational characters I’ve ever had the honour to meet. Edmond Manning’s gift with words is unique. He tells stories that don’t compare to anything else, creates characters unlike any you have met before, and he always has one more surprise up his sleeve. The Lost and Founds books are a treasure. And I still have one more to title to read; King Daniel awaits my attention. I’m torn between being unable to wait before I pick it up and not wanting to read it at all because as long as I ignore it, the story won’t end. Dilemmas, dilemmas.  

I’m going to end this ‘essay’ (yes, it’s over 1000 words again) by saying something I should probably have mentioned at the start. This book should not, under any circumstances, be read as a stand-alone. If you haven’t read the first four books, a lot of what happens in Come Back to Me won’t make sense to you, while this book would at the same time spoil those first four books for you. That’s not a bad thing though. All these The Lost and Founds books are stunning. Do yourself a favour and start with King Perry. Just be prepared to find yourself hooked.

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