A review by allisonwonderlandreads
With You Forever by Chloe Liese

emotional hopeful lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Chloe Liese knows how to draw me in with pure Bergman goodness. In this one, we get to see a happily ever after for Axel Bergman: artist, semi-professional recluse, and official Dog Dad even if he won't admit it. The other half of our #couplegoals is Rooney: ambitious law student, would-be nudist, and ray of sunshine. Their sexual tension has been in the background of previous books and continues in earnest here with a marriage of convenience and some seriously forced proximity. Despite the tension, I would describe it as low on angst, a tender-hearted emotional upswing even though the characters struggle, make mistakes, and get in their feelings. The book is also a love letter to the A-Frame in Washington that has been a home away from home for this reader throughout the whole series (waiting for my invite, Bergmans).

In terms of romance, Axel leaves Rooney these cute notes and doodles signed by the/his/their dog and I melted into a happy puddle at the mere idea of it. I dissolved into swoony sighs as both characters cared for each other during health scares and protected each other's hearts.  I was left cackling over the couple's panicked attempts to hide their wedding rings when family came calling, trying to keep their secret, "nonromantic" partnership under wraps.

On a serious front, Liese always knows how to bring real-life struggles and inclusivity into her stories. This one covers body image, mental & physical health, neurodivergence, and kink with an emphasis on open communication and making sure everyone feels safe. In terms of body image, Rooney is what I can report 2000s-era Seventeen magazine would call a pear shape (same), which is not commonly considered ideal, so I loved seeing it recognized and appreciated on the page. Rooney's relationship with her body is also affected by her chronic pain from IBS. The narrative highlights the way society paints her condition as embarrassing or impolite, which is not only absurd but hurtful. Axel's needs and journey with self-acceptance as a person with autism also shine through.

This romance is a crackling fire on a crisp fall day, so grab a blanket, a warm beverage, and a snuggly animal to enjoy this book at its full potential. Thanks to Chloe Liese and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It's out now!

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