From the Embers by Aly Martinez
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
April 28, 2021 Self Published
Review by Jen
From the Embers by Aly Martinez was SO good! I wasn’t sold on the premise, it just sounded sad and wrong. But, people were loving it and I gave it a try.
We have two couples and a tragic fire that leads to solo parenting by the survivors. Eason is married to Jessica and they have a baby, Luna. Rob is married to Bree and they have two young children as well. Best friends married best friends. At the very start of the book, it’s clear that Eason and Jessica are having marriage troubles. Eason is a struggling musician and Jessica is a stay-at-home mom who is tired of their financial problems. Eason had a record deal that fell through, they’ve had to watch their pennies, but Eason has decided to make changes in his career to help ease their money issues. Jessica is excited and they’re going to celebrate with their best friends, Rob and Bree. They’re going to have a game night together. Eason delivers Luna to Rob and Bree’s house as they’ve volunteered to have their babysitter watch all three kids. Rob and Bree also decide to bring expensive wine and Champagne to game night to toast the good news.
Rob and Bree have a great marriage. Rob appears loving and flirty, and he offers Eason warm brotherly advice about his marriage. Bree and Eason don’t get along very well; Bree barely tolerates Eason. She doesn’t respect Eason and feels he isn’t taking good enough care of her bestie.
Fast forward, we’re at game night. There’s a hot round of Pictionary happening. Then, BOOM. A huge explosion rocks the house. Eason wakes up, he’s woozy and confused, but he knows he needs to grab his wife and get out of the house. He must save her. Even with their marriage problems, Eason loves Jessica and she’s all he can think about. He grabs Jessica, sees Bree and Rob laying on the ground, and promises to get back to them. He races outside, puts Jessica down, is exhausted, devastated, and then realizes….
He didn’t rescue Jessica. He rescued Bree.
I saved the wrong woman. I left the mother of my child in a burning building. My final broken promise to the woman I’d vowed forever to was, “I’ll be right back.”
From there, it’s a heartbreaking journey for both Eason and Bree. I loved Eason! He’s a single dad who is doing everything to give his daughter a happy life. He works day and night, hustles, and cares for not just Luna, but for Bree’s kids, too. The way the author set up Bree at the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure I’d ever like her, let alone think she was good enough for Eason. It turns out, Bree is smart, kind, funny, and vulnerable. I doubted the author could pull off the romance on this one. Spouses dying in a massive fire? They were all best friends? That’s a tough one. She absolutely pulled this off. There’s a slow burn and great plot twists.
I should know better, I’ve enjoyed several of Aly Martinez’s books. They never disappoint.
You’ve piqued my interest, Jen! I’m off to get a sample.
It’s really good…well worth trying a sample!
I’ve read—and enjoyed—a number of Martinez’s books, but to me you have to go in knowing that she really puts her characters through the wringer and that the angst sometimes tips over into melodrama; also, coincidence often plays a huge role in how events play out. I’d almost call her books “women’s fiction with HEAs” rather than actual romance.
For sure! A total emotional roller coaster. I’ve noticed the coincidence thing, too. She has a certain format/tricks in her pocket that she follows.