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 Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.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.
This book, along with all other books by Chloe, can also be found on KindleUnlimited!!
An e-arc was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so so much Chloe!! ❤️❤️❤️
This book is one of my top favorites this year and one of my favorite romances ever. It was so so good. All the stars in the world. Yes, it did continously break my heart and put it back together, but I loved it. It made me so emotional in the best way. I’ll try to talk a little about each of my favorite parts, but apologies in advance if it gets our of hand and I end up fangirling for the most part.
1- The absolutely lovable characters
I just love love love them all. Both main and side characters. Chloe makes you slowly fall in love with them and their beautiful bonds. They’re complex and layered and wonderful, and while I was able to relate to other characters in the past two books when it came to a few things, Freya is the one most like me, and it made this book even more delightful.
She is a free spirit, a loving fiercely protective momma bear to her loved ones, and I absolutely adored her. And I love how she talks about and deals with her emotions because I can relate so much to everything she says, being the type of person whom the world constantly tells their feelings are too much.
“Crying isn’t weak. I know this. Rationally. But I also know the world doesn’t reward tears or see emotionality as strength. 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. Even when all I want to do sometimes is indulge in a teary explosion of hugging my condiment-named cats while cry-singing along to my nineties emo playlist.”
“The real me cries and speaks when her feelings aren’t tidy but instead a messy mix of emotions. I work out my thoughts as I talk. I’m an emotional, verbal processor. “
It just felt so so good reading about this badass wonderful character that I can see parts of myself in❤️❤️❤️
Then there’s Aiden who you also can’t help but love , for the wonderful resilient man he is, and for how much he loves Frey and his mother. He’s been though so much, and it’s very hard on him to talk about his anxiety and how it affects him and his past, but he continously tries to be a better man, a better husband. And even when things got too hard for him and he made choices that badly affected his marriage, he tried his best. He admitted his mistakes and got down to working on it. You can see him struggling but still trying. Groveling and doing whatever it takes to fix what happened between him and Freya.
I was always rooting for him, for both of them, which brings me to my next favorite thing.
2-Chloe’s approach to the marriage-in-crisis
“…. how could I ever honestly say I love him while denying him the chance to talk through it with a counselor? “
This alone would’ve had me sold. What came afterwards was gold, pure, real, and raw. No holding back or shying away about how messy things could get. I loved it. And I knew I would the minute I read that quote.
From the very beginning it was two people who loved each other but ended up hurting each other while trying to protect the other from life and what it throws at you. Aiden pulling back started it but as they worked things out Freya also admitted there were things she could’ve done differently. They both struggled and wanted to work this out in a healthy way . To do better, now that after a decade of marriage, they found themselves becoming estranged. Together but not. And they committed themselves to that, to each other and their marriage. There was no pride getting in the way, no toxic masculinity or trying to prove a point , they both talked about how they felt, both admitted their mistakes and what they’ve been doing wrong in the relationship, and constantly chose each other and vowed to do better. To be dedicated and put in the work. It wasn’t easy, it was full of tears and hurt and anger and messy contradicting emotions and fear of what comes next, but it was also very heartwarming, seeing them come together again.
“I love someone who’s shown me that love doesn’t give second chances because we’ve earned them. Love gives second chances because it believes the best in who we are.”
Chloe really gets into it and doesn’t shy away from how hard it could get . She also constantly corrects the unrealistic expectations and thoughts culture and society engrave in us, and truly shows what relationships require. The relationship /marriage advice and the topics they get into are truly something . They make this book unique and unforgettable, and one I’ll always recommend. It’d also be amazing to read with a partner!!
I also loved that even when they’re fighting , when it got to the point where they want to run sometimes, you still see them being understanding of what the other went/goes through, empathetic, and you see the little signs of their love like making sure the other person is up for eating something or doing something to ease their anxiety, or realizing they’re no longer doing something that brings them joy like singing and humming and trying to bring them back. I just loved it all, it was the perfect story for these two and my favorite marriage in crisis story ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
3- It was still very fun and swoony
And I’m not just talking about the last parts of the book after they’ve worked on things . Throughout the whole book Chloe finds a balance between the angst and emotional moments and the fun moments with the Bergman shenanigans. And it was still full of swoons. Aiden and Frey had me burying my face in my pillow several times because my heart couldn’t take all the angst, but also because of the wholesome adorable moments between them, whether in flashbacks to some moments in their ten years they’ve been together, or the sweet soft moments we get as they talk more and more and work on their marriage and things start to get better and their comfort and intimacy return.
4- The Family/Brothers bonds
“Somewhere along the way, you forgot the day you became Freya’s , you became ours, too.”
The family bonds in this series make me so happy and enjoy the books so much(along with the adorable romances of course) , and as with the first two books you have all the Bergmans with their love and mischief, but there’s an added bonus of seeing how the brothers dealt with Freya and Aiden’s marriage crisis. There was meddling, of course , as they were trying to figure out how to help in their own way, and it lead to some hilarious moments, but there’s also the sweet emotional moments where they remind Aiden that they’re there for him too, that they love him and he’s theirs as well as Freya’s, and some of them had me clutching my heart in tears. It was so beautiful, especially with how much it means to Aiden.
If you’ve read any of Chloe’s Bergman books then this probably isn’t a surprise for you. She’s keen on giving us many reps with neurodiverse characters, disability rep, etc. And I absolutely love that.
In this book we have Aiden who has anxiety and with the way Chloe portrayed it I could recognize some of the things I’ve seen a loved one with anxiety struggle with in him and I hope that others with anxiety could see themselves well represented in this book.
Another thing I personally truly appreciated was having an amazing curvy heroine. I was even more excited for the book when Chloe revealed this a couple of weeks ago.
The first time I read a book with a main character my size I was around 18 years old. I had been reading romance for quite a but and I remember feeling a little fascinated, stumbling upon that YA contemporary. I’ve mentioned this in a previous review but romance doesn’t have a blueprint, love isn’t something that happens to people who only look a certain way or come from a certain background, etc. And it felt weird that a genre that revolves around love, which is for all, seems to only represent a handful of people.
I love that lately I’ve been seeing more diversity in this beloved genre, how inclusive it’s becoming, and I hope this only grows. Because love is for all, and everyone deserves to be seen and heard and see characters like them as heroes of their own story, finding their own happy ending.
And so for someone who’s been plus size almost her entire life, and midsized at her lowest, I’ll always love and appreciate having characters like Freya. I can’t tell you how many times I started at that cover 😍
This book was an absolute delight, and now I miss Freya and Aiden so so much and I can’t wait to see them again in future Bergman books. I never actually thought they’d get a book, since they were already together ever since they were introduced, so I didn’t see this book coming, but I’m so glad Chloe decided to write their story ❤️
Next up is Axel, whose story I’ve been dying for since I first met him in Only when It’s Us. I had a feeling that his book would be my favorite but now it has Ever After Always to compete with. And I also want Viggo’s story nowww, because he’s been stealing the show quite a bit in the last two books and I’m so excited for his story. And all of the rest really, I just love them all so much and I need them to adopt me already!!
Ever After Always is now up for pre-order and comes out 1/12/2021!! I can’t wait for you all to read it, but in the mean time you can read Only When It’s Us and Always Only You and catch up with the Bergmans!
UPDATE : Okay I finished this book 3 weeks ago and I’ve already gone back to it like ten times, it’s seriously SO GOOD. All the stars. Please go read it on 12/1 and come back so we could Fangirl together 🥺