Series: Bergman Brothers, #3
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Amazon Publishing on 12th January 2021
Buy on Amazon
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 Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.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?
A confession I’ll have to make at the start: reading about maintaining the HEA past a couple getting together typically isn’t what I go for. It’s hard, messy and well, where the real work begins.
Usually, the epilogues of a few years or months later at the end of a story is palatable, as my personal kink usually has to do with heavy sexual tension, filthy talk and two separate individuals self-aware enough to act on their attraction while not flying off the handle at the slightest bit of brewing conflict.
‘Ever After Always’ however, gamely steps into a position that begins where the HEA is supposed to come with the fall of the curtain, then shoots off with a glorious mess of a couple in crisis. Aiden and Freya – last seen as the bastion of what a rock-solid marriage should be – aren’t spared in Chloe Liese’s latest installment and their own issues are profound, raw and oh-so-difficult to read about.
Delving deep into the psychology of why even the most stalwart of unions can fail and how the littlest things can derail whatever little progress is made to improve it, Liese throws Aiden and Freya head first into the deep end of the pool when both realise that they’re taking too many steps backwards as the months roll on.
Consequently, there’s a lot of reflection, pages and pages of emotional ranting, of inner monologues and the difficult scenes of protagonists struggling to come to terms with their own states of reality. It did get a bit too weighty for me, but Aiden/Freya’s journey – if angst and heavy musings are your thing – can be rewarding in its own way when they both finally emerge into the light by the end of the book.
The large Bergman family is the ballast in Aiden/Freya’s tumult, providing comic relief at the risk of becoming caricatures when there are just so many secondary characters adding their own version of spice to the bubbling marriage broth. As stylised as some scenes might be however, I appreciate Liese’s attempt to keep it as real as she could…even when I was hoping for something lighter to catapult me into a more escapist fantasy in days like these.