God, god, god!!!! Mariana Zapata has blown me away AGAIN – I absolutely LOVED The Wall of Winnipeg and Me!! Vanessa and Aiden have stolen my heart and I honestly never want it back. This is another book full of perfection from my new favorite author!
If you know me, then you’ll know that Kulti was my #1 favorite book of 2015 (check out my review here). I’ve become a fan of Mariana’s for life because of that book, and now that I’ve read Winnie, I know for sure that she’ll forever be an auto-buy author for me. Winnie had huge expectations to fill, obviously, and this brilliant author didn’t disappoint. If you loved Kulti, or if you love friends-to-lovers or slow burn, then you will adore Winnie. It’s a sports romance like Kulti, but it’s unique and special in its own way. From the second I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down. And I never wanted it to end!
Vanessa Mazur has been working to the bone for a top football player, Canadian Aiden Graves, for the past two years as his assistant/cook/housekeeper/everything, and she’s about done. She’s ready to move on with her life and start her own career. Plus, she shouldn’t feel bad about quitting when Aiden doesn’t even care about her… right? He never says hello to her, never thanks her, never says anything – so why should she put up with him any longer?
While I’d always known and accepted that we weren’t friends, I guess a small part of me had been foolish enough to think I meant just a little, tiny, microscopic something to him. I’d done a lot for Aiden over the course of the time we’d worked together. I knew I would more than likely miss the familiarity of working for him at least a little bit. Wouldn’t he feel the same way?
That answer to that had been a big, fat nope.
It’s the shock of a lifetime when Aiden drops by Vanessa’s house a few weeks after she quits and asks her to come back to work for him. And even more, he proposes a deal she can’t pass up if she wants to move forward with her career: he’ll pay off her massive student loans in return for her hand in marriage, so that when his work visa expires, he won’t have to go back to Canada. But if they have to spend 5 years together, how will they possibly get along and pretend to be married when they never even really had a relationship to begin with?
“I wished you had respected me enough to appreciate me back when it would have meant something. I liked you. I admired you, and in the course of a few days, you killed that.”
I adored Vanessa. She’s a headstrong, hilarious, independent woman. She’s pretty much the only person who doesn’t take Aiden’s shit, and I completely admired her for it. She’s the wonderful kind of heroine I can relate to, and has quirks that made her feel REAL to me. She’s just… genuine! And so, so funny. The way she thinks and talks had me cracking up so much, and she has some wonderful banter with her best friend Zac, who I also adore, and surprisingly, her new husband Aiden.
He couldn’t be considered my sugar daddy if we were legally married, right?
Aiden isn’t your typical sports romance hero. He’s not a manwhore. He’s not popular or social with people. He keeps to himself and dedicates 100% of his life to football. He doesn’t form relationships with anyone and he’s a bit of an ass. But after Vanessa quits, he’s got a case of ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.’ So he tries for her, tries to be a friend. This is a slow burn romance, so don’t expect anything to happen quickly. It’s the build-up of friendship, tension, small touches and glances that Mariana Zapata is so skilled at writing that makes the romance all the more unforgettable.
Winnie is slow burn at its finest. I loved every part of this book, even the parts where Aiden is a total butthead. He more than makes it up though, with the development of his and Vanessa’s relationship, and I fell head over heels in love with him. Football has always been his greatest love, but you can see that slowly changing through the book, and how can you not love that!?
Like football and art, like anything that anyone in the world has ever wanted, love was a dream. And just like a dream, there were no assurances behind it. It didn’t grow on its own. It didn’t blossom without food to feed it.
It was the greatest in its subtleties.
It was the strongest in its selflessness.
And it could be forever with someone who wasn’t afraid to never give up on the possibilities it presents.
This book for sure is going on my favorites shelf – I loved it like CRAZY. Winnie is slow, sweet, funny, perfect… it’s a heart-felt romance with unique characters I couldn’t get enough of. If you love romances that feel real, you need to read this book! It’s slow, but I promise the end is more than worth the wait. (While you’re at it, read Kulti if you haven’t already!!!)
Also by Mariana Zapata
Kulti: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Under Locke: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Rhythm, Chord, and Malykhin: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Lingus: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads