Series: Bergman Brothers, #3
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
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 Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.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?
“You’re that person, for me. You’re my ever after.”
I finished this book quite early on and then spent a good long while trying to put my thoughts into words. Ever After Always is such a powerful book and Chloe Liese completely knocked it out of the park. It’s a book that requires you to really just sit down and think about everything, because it’s so damn beautiful.
We’ve already seen the wonderful characters that Chloe has created in the Bergman family thanks to Ren and Ryder, but you are in for a treat with Freya. Through the first two books, we see just how loving and protective Freya is, her family always comes first and she looks out for her brothers no matter what. We all met Aiden in Only When It’s Us, with his meddling and his desire to set Ryder and Willa up, but we also got glimpses of him and Freya through the books because the Bergman family is so tight knight. And in Always Only You, we get a hint of the trouble that Aiden and Freya are dealing with. But nothing could prepare you for this magic.
“That’s when you learn marriage isn’t the final destination. It’s the ride itself, one moment smooth-sailing, the next, jolting and unpredictable. It’s the ride that’s so upending and life-changing and worth it that we want to stay on and ride it again and again and again.”
Ever After Always is a marriage-in-crisis romance with these two headstrong characters trying to make their relationship of 12 years work again. I haven’t read a lot of romances in this trope, but as always Chloe did such a wonderful job making us feel all the things for Aiden and Freya. The reasons for why their marriage is slowly crumbling is a whole heap of things from work distractions, to Aiden’s anxiety and Freya’s lack of communication. Obviously I can’t give everything away, otherwise what’s the point in you reading the book, right?
The book tackles a lot of important and heavy topics and it makes you very aware of all the things in your own life and how other people have probably responded to you in the past. Aiden’s anxiety is very similar to my own, so while it did unnerve me a little to read about my own experiences, it also comforted me to know that this is not all that unusual and that anybody can be dealing with the same things that I do. Chloe does a beautiful job of representing characters of different kinds, putting focus on their mental health struggles, their physical struggles and emotional conflicts.
“I’m an empowered, no-nonsense woman who feels all her feelings and battles the cultural pressure to contain them, to have my emotional shit in order.”
Lots of people have talked about not liking Freya because she’s prickly and rough around the edges, but that is exactly what I love about her. Freya is honest, she’s not always going to say what you want to hear, she’s stubborn and she’s harsh, but it all comes from a place where she believes she is saying and doing the right thing. Freya’s love for her family is truly so special. The Bergmans are an incredible group and there is not a single person in that family that you can’t not love. She’s protective of her brothers, of her little sister, but most of all, she’s protective of Aiden. And even with their marriage in trouble, she’s constantly looking out for him. That’s what makes an amazing character, how can someone not love Freya Bergman for all that she is?
And then there’s Aiden. Good god, this man. He’s smart, driven, ambitious, sexy as all get out and he loves fiercely. But that fierceness is what stumps him, because he wants to be the best and give Freya the best and it keeps holding him back. Aiden’s growth through this book was extraordinary. There’s a lot that happens to him, a lot that I didn’t see coming, but he pushes through and perseveres because he truly believes that he is deserving of so much more. And the Bergman brothers feel the same way. They love Aiden like he’s their own and oh my god, the interactions, the pranks, the romance book club – it’s all so spectacular.
“People whose love lasts, whose love grows and endures, choose each other in the unhappily ever after, the dark moments, not just the dazzling ones.”
While it’s a marriage-in-crisis romance, it’s also a second chance romance. Because Freya and Aiden are giving each other a second chance. Just without all the distance and years apart from each other. Ever After Always is about love and about finding your soulmate, but it’s also about finding yourself. More Aiden than Freya, goes through such an incredible journey of learning about himself and understanding himself. I don’t think I’ve ever related to a male character more than I have with Aiden.
Do yourself a favour, pick up the first two Bergman Brothers books and get familiar with this incredible family. Then take a weekend and soak in Ever After Always, because this book requires your complete attention. The first two books talk about various disabilities and health issues, but this one is an emotional rollercoaster and you’re going to need time to process your thoughts and feelings when you’re done.
Thanks to Chloe Liese for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.