Hello lovelies! I am back with a review of a book that changed my life. Nothing more, nothing less!
Title: Always Only You (Bergman Brothers #2)
Author: Chloe Lise
Synopsis: Always Only You is an opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis* to herself. Complete with a meddling secretary, tantric yoga torture, and a scorching slow burn, this standalone is the second 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.
5 stars: Persephone – Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring. Persephone is my favourite goddess because she is full of contradictions – she represents both strength as queen of the underworld and a softness as a floral maiden. She teaches me how it’s okay to be both. If Persephone appears, that means that the book was one of the best books I’ve ever read, that it holds a particular place in my heart and that it is now part of my favourite books ever.
You know that feeling when you finish a book and feel broken but whole at the same time? Where you feel like you’ve stepped inside a dream and once it’s over you have to go back into your real life, deal with things and you fell very very sad about it? Well this was me after finishing this gem of a book. I cannot stress how in love with it I am; more accurately, I love this book as much as Frankie and Ren love each other, that means: a lot.
I read the first book in the Bergman Brothers series which was recommended to me by a lovely friend but she especially recommended this one to me. I absolutely adored the first one but this one made me swoon. I felt like I was going to faint because I just had too many mushy, “omg they’re so cute I can’t” feelings.
I absolutely love the grump/ sunshine trope and there’s nothing better than pining in romance (in my humble and completely biased opinion) and this book delivers . I like the fact that Frankie (aka the heroine) was the grump and that Ren (male interest) was the sunshine. It was a nice change! It also helps that Ren loved her grumpy self and didn’t expect her to smile constantly, he really valued when that happened. He loved everything about her, the good and the bad and treated her wonderfully. He worshipped the ground she walked on, which should be the standard.
Every cute moment they shared were the death of me and the intimate scenes they had were hot but they didn’t simply have sex (which is you know, pretty cool; good for them!) but they made love and it was beautiful.
I wish I could list every moment that made me go *swoon* but the list would be never-ending; I will just say that I loved the
not so ironic use of terms of endearment.
But most importantly I loved (and I mean “loved’ as in my “heart hurt”) the representation and how accurate it was. Frankie is on the autism spectrum and she has rheumatoid arthritis which requires her to walk with a cane. And that didn’t take away or make her less than capable. I loved how she embraced it because these things didn’t define her; they just made her who she is. The most beautiful part was seeing her learning to love herself and letting others love her the way she deserved.
There were a lot of talks about disability with other characters which I think were very clever and honest. One moment that brought me to tears is when Frankie talked with another character who is also on the autism spectrum. Seeing autistic women understanding and helping each other was really what did it for me. I’m also on the spectrum and seeing myself represented in such a validating and beautiful way was indescribable. I felt seen and loved. I am on the process of getting diagnosed and this book gave me the extra confidence to actually get things in motion and not anxiously waiting for things to happen. It reminded me that being in the spectrum is a wonderful and special thing and to celebrate everything that I am.
Then there were the little things that raised my expectations in a romantic partner ever higher which are really the bare minimum but which I value I guess? Ren’s patience, love and care were UGH. So good. So good. I want that, please and thank you. He was very honest and loving and soft. He’s also a redhead, an athlete and a Shakespeare nerd??? This is the man of my dreams. Honestly, the quotes about Shakespeare which were used in a brilliant way and at the perfect time took me out and I will never recover. They also briefly mentioned Kierkegaard and Jane Austen. Could this book have gotten any better? (No, it was perfection).
Always Only You is one of the best romance novels ever written. I cannot explain how seeing a woman on the spectrum with a disability being loved for who she is meant to me. Thank you Chloe Liese!