As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and that starts with the fantastic Ever After Always by Chloe Liese. I remember seeing this ARC on NetGalley at the end of 2020, and I knew nothing about Liese’s writing but the blurb sounded great and that’s what sold me. So, I dove in with zero expectations of this new-to-me author, and I was completely blown away. This marriage in trouble romance is intelligent and heartbreaking, with some moments of true, deep intimacy paired with such a fun family dynamic. I knew right away that I was reading something great, and I immediately started reading the rest of the series as soon as I was done with this. The story is just richer and deeper when you read it in context of the series, and Liese has since become one of my one-click authors. The Bergman Brothers series made my BEST OF 2021: My Favorite Romance Series list (found here), and I’m so looking forward to whatever Liese writes in 2022!
Read on for my original review, details on the series, and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!
Want to know what I did the SECOND I finished this book? Grabbed the first two books in the series, because this was OUTSTANDING. It’s a love letter to marriage, best understood by those who’ve been in one, but no less powerful if you haven’t. It’s difficult and heart-wrenching, raw and real, and the progress this couple makes is so powerful. The storyline probably won’t be for everyone, but the journey is absolutely worth it – especially because of how good you’ll feel by the end. This may have been my first time reading something by this author, but it was just the beginning of my love for her work.
The story follows Freya and Aiden, a married couple who have been together for over a decade. Their once-solid relationship seems to be crumbling, and things have gotten so bad that all communication has broken down. Aiden doesn’t realize that his marriage is even in jeopardy until his wife packs his bags. It’s a startling wakeup call that makes him a little desperate to put the pieces back together. But no matter how much love there is between them, there’s no fixing this marriage until all of their cards are on the table. When a family vacation forces Freya and Aiden to come together, they realize that they’ve got to put in a whole lot of work if there’s any hope of a future for them.
I loved how honest this is. It takes two people to make a marriage work, and love is not enough to keep things going. Freya and Aiden are both genuinely good people who love each other – and I’m talking about the kind of deep love that only comes from years spent getting to know someone. I felt for both of them, and I really appreciated that neither one was “at fault” for bringing them to this point. They’ve both got things they need to work on, and they’ve let those things spiral out of control, but there’s nothing that’s insurmountable. The build in intimacy is a thing of beauty, and the author does an excellent job showcasing that. There’s a subtlety that works, and I loved all of those quieter moments. It’s the kind of slow burn that’s necessary, building back up the emotional connection before things turn physical – though there are plenty of sexy moments on the way there.
Buckle up for an emotional journey of hijinks, heartache, and a hot slow-burn in this marriage-in-crisis romance about going the distance to make love last.
I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby.
With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.
I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.
As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?
Ever After Always is a marriage-in-crisis, opposites-attract romance about a sensitive, fierce-loving woman and her resilient husband who has anxiety disorder. Complete with island vacation antics, a sibling prank gone wrong, and a steamy slow burn, this standalone is the third in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.
Start the series today!
Only When It’s Us
About the Author:
Chloe writes romances reflecting her belief that everyone deserves a love story. Her stories pack a punch of heat, heart, and humor, and often feature characters who are neurodivergent like herself. When not dreaming up her next book, Chloe spends her time wandering in nature, playing soccer, and most happily at home with her family and mischievous cats.
Connect with Chloe:
More of the Best of 2021!
Top 20 of 2021: The Complete List – here
Best of 2021: Top Picks by Trope can be found here!
Best of 2021: My 10 Favorite Romance Series can be found here!
Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!
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