Cozy up for a heartfelt, humorous, sizzling slow-burn in this marriage of convenience romance about finding love—and home—in the most unlikely of places.
Rooney Sullivan is sunshine incarnate. Warm, bright, always smiling, she’s everything I’m not and the last person I have any business desiring. Desperate to hide a hopeless attraction, I’ve done everything possible to keep my distance…until a charades game gone wrong brought that to a grinding halt.
Since then, steering clear of Rooney has been impossible. In a matter of months, she’s kissed me speechless, commandeered my art career, and infiltrated not only my dreams but my home. The woman who was once avoidable has become the last thing I needed: temptingly within reach.
Axel Bergman is a gorgeous grump who doesn’t have the time of day for me. Thankfully, I’ve kept my crush under wraps…well, until I kissed him. Charades got away from me, okay? It was an accident! I haven’t seen him since, which is for the best. My life is a mess, and the last thing I need is to embarrass myself further with the man who avoids me like that’s his job rather than painting modern masterpieces.
It seems the universe, however, has a different plan. When Axel and I unexpectedly find our paths—and problems—converging, a marriage of convenience proves the perfect solution. At least, until I’m facing my most serious problem yet: a once-loveless marriage of convenience that’s inconveniently become a love match, after all.
With You Forever is a sunshine and grump, marriage of convenience romance about a shy artist on the autism spectrum*, and a smiley smartypants who has a chronic IBD. Complete with combustible cooking lessons, interfering family and friends, and a steamy slow burn, this standalone is the fourth 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 is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.
Publication: September 14th, 2021
My Favourite Quote: *subject to change*
I will get a smile out of him!
Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
A single thought kept reappearing in my mind with every sentence of With You Forever that I read. The thought was perhaps more of a realisation that the struggle with highly anticipated books is that as a reader we tend to build up these glorious thoughts and feelings in our heads and hearts, forgetting that the characters the author wishes to portray are meant to be representations of reality and real people.
As a reader we often find ourselves judging these (types of) anticipated books, especially when we’re invested in a specific character’s story, from a space of unfairly elevated expectations. We want them to be heroes/heroines/god-like/meet all these magical expectations we’ve created in our minds. If the book meets this expectations then it’s perfect, if it doesn’t… then we’re immensely disappointed.
It’s only with Chloe Liese’s book that I realise how differently I probably should be looking at a character. Axel has always been this aloof enigma and Rooney has always been so bright and seemed like she’s got everything going for her in every scene that she has appeared in before. Except… I forgot that when we see people from the outside—or, the perspective of other characters in their book—we’re only seeing a version of them. Not who they really are.
So what Chloe Liese did with her book was bring me straight back to reality. Which I’m thinking about now and finding hard to believe I didn’t humanise these characters on my own, given how I’m exactly like them? And I know all my friends are.
I mean, aren’t we all? Quietly struggling with one’s own issues on the inside and keeping it all together on the outside. No one on the outside can see what we’re struggling with and everyone thinks everything is perfect in someone else’s life. Oftentimes we even presume we’re the only ones suffering at all, that the things that come so hard for us comes so easily for everyone else. We forget they perhaps feel the same about us and how the things they strive for, we simply bat our lids to achieve.
So basically, long story short I weeped my eyes out. Rooney was a character I related with the fastest and deepest amongst all of Chloe Liese’s characters—and that’s saying something because all her characters are relatable. Rooney and I may not suffer from similar issues, but the vulnerabilities that come with these struggles? Those are just the same. It’s hard to believe someone struggling so much on a personal level can seem so put together on the outside … and at the same time I see myself, my friends and my parents and know that it’s the truth.
Axel.. ah. Chloe grounding me as a reader with Axel—specifically him because he was the character that I was anticipating to read about from the beginning—was my absolute favourite. As I watched his personality, his struggles, his moments of kindness, his wants, likes and pain fill the pages I found out what I loved about Chloe (who may just be my favourite author).
Chloe ensures we remember that everyone is both okay and not. Seeing someone even all our life will never ever make us realise what happens with them when they are alone. Sometimes they don’t let us see and sometimes we choose not to, or just don’t see. But that doesn’t change the fact that everyone is both struggling and strong. I know it seems like a small epiphany, but when it comes to me and how I should know this by now, I was struck by these thoughts like lightening and am personally going to keep reminding myself that no one may know what I’m going through, yes, but I may know absolutely nothing of the battles someone is fighting either.
Like any other Chloe Liese book, there’s humour, family, love, hope, pain and lots and lots of heartwarming moments. I didn’t ever think I would find myself so touched after Chloe’s previous book, but I was proved wrong. We see all of our favourite characters from the previous books, we see art and worry, risks and bravery and love, love, love. Just like every book I’ve read of Chloe’s she brings everything to the table and they share equal space and deliver a well balanced read.
The title “With You Forever” was to me prophetic of me and anything Chloe Liese writes in the future. There’s not a Chloe Liese book so far that I have not weeped because of yet and I don’t think With You Forever will be my last. Five stars. No doubt!