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Have You Read This Yet?: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Marissa. . .

Damn, had me kicking my feet and giggling

By Delise FantomePublished 2 months ago 5 min read

The last book I read in 2023, was probably my favorite book of the year. I just love reading a book where people are all happily, easily, sappily falling in love and letting their happiness grow beyond whatever expectations they had for themselves. And! And, there was no third act breakup/relationship battering event?! You earned every penny I spent Marissa!!

Peep. Vanessa "Van" Mazur has been the hardworking, beleaguered personal assistant to one of the most popular professional football players in the nation- Aiden Graves, nicknamed "The Wall of Winnipeg" but working for the Dallas One Hundreds- for two, very long, years. But this girl had dreams beyond laundering a grown man's sheets and preparing him a cauldron (not because he's a witch, well he is a bit of a picky bitch, but the cauldron is in reference to the MASSIVE amounts of food he eats, and- you know what, moving on) full of quinoa and other vegan delights! Van's goal was to work her ass off, nose to the grindstone for two whole years, and then . . . she would spread her wings and fly off the rocky cliff of self-employment, trusting her skills as a graphic designer and a badass hustler to make her dream come true.

And she does it! She says a very one-sided and painfully aloof goodbye to Aiden Graves, quits her job, and begins to start down her own path. But what's this? What giant shadow lurks at the foot of her apartment stairs? Why, the big man himself! And he's got a favor to ask of her, something even bigger than washing his sheets with the very specifically picked laundry detergent or taking just the right kind of backside picture to be both tasteful yet keep his fanbases both envious and thirsty in equal measure.

Though I won't spoil what that favor is up here, I will say that the favor starts them on an unintentional path of deep connection and tender romance the likes of which had me discreetly peddling my feet when reading it in a hotel lobby chair, and biting back a huge grin around my family back at our home. I mean, the ways that Aiden learned to care for Vanessa? Learning about her fears, her hopes, her dreams, and very quietly and sometimes not quietly (communication is sexy, and necessary!) working to shore up those defenses she'd spent so long letting erode for others comfort, and just becoming both her biggest supporter and best friend?! And don't think Vanessa didn't have some growth here either, she may have learned how to functionally care for Aiden- his food likes, lifestyle requirements, work, etc.- but now she was learning about Aiden! His past, his hopes, his desires . . . and whoo, his desires. I actually was just as shocked as Vanessa to realize exactly how much Aiden knew about her, and how much he actually saw her, when he'd never- or I should say, when Vanessa never realized that despite not looking or speaking to her much, he was always aware. She was learning about Aiden, not as a sports afficionado, but as a young man with a past and a present and a future he worked diligently for.

Reading them come together was just such a fun treat, and a great book to end 2023 on. I highly recommend "The Wall of Winnipeg and Me" if you're in the mood for romance, laughs, and a skipped heartbeat or two. I so very highly encourage you all to add a little molasses slow romance in your lives with this book. Enjoy! And come back and let me know what you thought about it, okay?

(Warning! This is the spoiler laden area just ahead, for those who might have already read it, or did indeed read it and come back! Glad to have you again!)





Okay so they have to get married because Aiden is a Canadian citizen and he's not sure about what's going to happen with his career down the road, but what he does know is America is home, and there's only one surefire way to get that going. A.K.A marry my ex-personal assistant.


Yes, I'm a basic bitch and immediately clocked this as "The Proposal" with a workaholic Canadian boss and a hassled, harried, and fed up underling just gender swapped . . . but it's really so much more than that! And I promise you, this book was twice as cute as the Bullock & Reynolds smash hit.

But ya girl Van is not weak-willed Ryan Reynolds looking to sell herself for a crumbling and rotted tradpub industry! She's got independance in her future and a dream on her tablet that she's unwilling to give up! Until he says the magic words . . .

"You've want those student loans gone?"

Cue the Vegas ceremony, baby!

Listen. This book was so stinking cute, my heart was so full of fondness and warmth just reading it all. Like, from the minute they get married Aiden is in "protector" mode, and not only is it wonderful to read about a giant hulk of a dude who would do anything for you, but then you include Van's complicated feelings over why he couldn't gave been decent to her- treated her with respect- before this arrangement when he was clearly capable of it! And because of that, her journey with developing feelings for him is one that is deliberately slowed and thoughtfully poured over!

And with her seeking clarification on who and why he is, Aiden is also shown being willing to put in the work to do better, to explain why he wasn't good before, and do all that he can to apologize and show Van that he's not going to do that again. He can and will be better. He'll show up for her and hers, put forth the effort to fully support her needs, wants, and wishes, and correct the flaws in himself that had hurt her previously.

At the same time she's willing to work to overcome those worries and hurts so that it can't harm their relationship down the road at the same pace as Aiden is willing to work on them, and she works on bettering communication and expressing herself. Then, opening up to him about her shitty family (and wow, that's one of the worst families I've read about in years! Props to Zapata for that bold move!) and getting support from him, validating her and protecting her when she has to confront her worst sister and brother-in-law. Travelling to her convention just to be there as emotional support?!

And NO THIRD ACT DRAMA?! My fucking CHEST . . . !

Well. I suppose you could argue that the "third act drama" was actually the "first act conflict", the whole quitting and leaving thing . . . but whatever, I won't. What I will do . . . is sincerely urge you to reread this book. Give it some reviews on whatever sight you've got. Goodreads. Storygraph., wherever and whenever. Let's support our authors, our artists, and keep this writing community strong and authentic, without overreach of a simple-minded AI.


About the Creator

Delise Fantome

I write about Halloween, music, movies, and more! Boba tea and cheesecake are my fuel. Let's talk about our favorite haunts and movies on Twitter @ThrillandFear

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