TOP 20 OF 2021: From the Embers by Aly Martinez

As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and From the Embers by Aly Martinez is certainly one of the more unique books on the list! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC before this released, but that meant that I went in completely blind – the blurb was super vague, no one else had reviewed it yet, and I’d only read lighter books by Martinez in the past. So this grabbed my attention and held it the whole way through! It’s a heavy book that gets lighter as it goes on, and I loved the uplifting, heartfelt vibes towards the end. This couple’s journey to happily ever after is hard fought and so very different than most, and I soaked up the subtle changes in their interactions. Martinez does an excellent job with the nuances of this relationship, and that made From the Embers a very bingeable read.


Read on for my original review and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!

Well, I hope no one expects me to do anything productive today, because this kept me up reading LATE into the night. Or I suppose “morning” would be more accurate, lol! This was incredibly compelling from the first page; the kind of book that held my attention from the start and NEVER let go. I’ve never read anything quite like it. It’s a gut punch to your emotions in the best of ways, taking the reader on a slow-burning journey that tugs on your every heartstring. I was devastated right along with these characters more than once, but I also felt the glow of love when they finally found the good in life again. The build in intimacy was incredible, feeling rich and fully developed – even in a book that isn’t particularly long. And this hero? I want him for myself. He is the perfect combination of sexy and adorable, with a sweet, steady side that absolutely melted my heart.

The story follows Eason and Bree, two people who have been a part of each other’s lives for years, though neither one would really consider themselves friends. They’re married to each other’s best friends, so they spend holidays and vacations together, forming a family unit even though they don’t like each other. Eason thinks Bree is a judgmental ice queen, while Bree believes Eason is a musician who needs to let go of his dream and step up for his family. When a double date goes terribly wrong, and both of their lives go up in flames, Eason pulls a woman from the wreckage. But he saved the wrong woman, and that will change every part of his life going forward.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you go into this one blind. The journey is all part of the process, and there are some gasp-worthy moments in here. First and foremost, it’s about finding love after loss, sparking a fire from the embers and building the life you truly want. I loved the found family aspect, the bond between Eason and Bree, and the tender moments that will get to you. It’s the kind of slow burn that takes some patience, growing just a little bit at a time – but the payoff is oh so worth it. Eason is probably my favorite part of the book, but Bree gives as good as she gets, and the two together are something really special. This is the kind of 5-star rating that never once wavered; I loved every bit of it. The only tiny criticism I’ll offer – if it’s even that – is that I’m still digesting the final act. There’s a moment that just about stopped my heart, and the tonal shift is jarring. I would’ve been perfectly happy ending the book with the warm glow I was basking in prior to that moment, but I’ve gotta hand it to the author – I didn’t see it coming. Looking back, there are countless threads that are pulled together by that moment, but it might’ve been a step too far. I don’t know. All I know is that this was outstanding, and one of the easiest 5-star ratings I’ve given in awhile. I received an early copy (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this emotional romance.



Our love was born from the embers, and together we would go up in flames.

In the aftermath of tragedy, it’s strange the things you remember. 

The deafening boom as the house exploded.

The paralyzing fear as I searched for my wife.

The blinding smoke burning my eyes as I carried her out. 

But carved into my soul for the rest of my days would be the earth-shattering realization that the woman in my arms wasn’t my wife. 

Bree and I were the only survivors—not that either of us were truly living after that night. As a single dad with nowhere else to go, I moved into her guest house. And somehow, through the guilt and grief, we forged an unlikely team.

It took years, but I watched the gradual return of her smile—slow and life-altering.

The two of us could sit outside for hours, talking about nothing, and it filled the massive hole in my chest with new life. 

I may have carried her out of that fire, but the truth was, Bree saved me.

As we healed, the secrets and lies of the past smoldered in the ashes, threatening to ignite again. 

Our love was born from the embers, and together we would go up in flames.


About the Author:

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her husband and four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and olives. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

Connect with Aly:
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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!

Best of 2021: My Favorite Covers can be found here!

Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases


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