Contemporary Romance

Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me – Mariana Zapata

Rating 4 Stars

What’s the book about?
Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

My Review
Since I’ve been on a Mariana Zapata binge lately, I decided to reread The Wall of Winnipeg and Me which was the first Zapata story I read back in July 2019; and let me just say how much more I enjoyed it this time around! Now that I’ve gotten an idea of her writing style and storytelling (and love of slow burns), I was able to appreciate this story a lot more.

In July 2019, I initially rated this story 3 stars. I enjoyed it but felt the slow burn was too slow and (at the time) I struggled to see the connection between the two characters. Since reading Lingus, Under Locke and From Lukov with Love – all of which I’ve loved! – I’ve grown to love the slow burns that Zapata provides and can now rate this story a solid 4 stars!

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me follows the story of stoic football player Aiden Graves and his assistant Vanessa Mazur. As his assistant, Vanessa puts up with a lot. In additional to her regular duties, she has to avoid his creepy teammate, liaise with two of Aiden’s very temperamental sports agents (and stop herself from flipping them off), and just generally deal with Aiden’s crabby moods on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that after a couple of years she says enough is enough and calls it quits. Shortly after, Aiden comes crawling back to her apartment very nearly begging her to come back. When that doesn’t work, Aiden mentions that he’s done playing for his current football team and needs another way to stay in the country…

As previously mentioned, Aiden is one moody dude and the complete opposite of Vanessa’s disposition so I loved watching these two characters navigate around each other. From Vanessa’s point of view, Aiden was ungrateful for all the work she did for him and this was evident in one of my favourite scenes where she washes and changes his sheets but doesn’t leave a chocolate on his pillow like she usually does. Even in his quiet, serious manner, you can tell Aiden freaks at this change and that he’s always taken it for granted.

As the story progresses, you also start to see where the line blurs between fake relationship to friendship, and then into love. The romance is still definitely on the slower side but the story is very sweet and has all the aspects I’ve come to love in Zapata’s work. I’m so glad I decided to give this a reread and can’t wait to read more of Zapata’s work in future.

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