RELEASE DAY REVIEW – From the Ground Up by Jennifer Van Wyk

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Title: From the Ground Up
Author: Jennifer Van Wyk
Release Date: February 7, 2017

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Synopsis

He can’t remember the last time he had his wife to himself…
She can’t remember the last time she felt wanted…

Life hasn’t slowed down since Tess and Barrett married over twenty years ago. After carting kids around, making dinner, enduring the stress of jobs, bills, life-it’s no wonder neither of them can remember the last time they had sex.
Or the last time they weren’t too tired to at least try.
Date night no longer consists of wooing, but going to the same restaurant and ordering the same food, then repeating the process.
The magic-is gone.
Life refuses to give them what they need-time alone together, so they take matters into their own hands. After all, a week away in a remote Michigan cabin is just what they need to light the fire in their relationship again.

The only problem? How do you fall back in love with each other when you never fell out in the first place? How do you re-build, from the ground up?

Review

Jennifer Van Wyk delivers all the feels with her debut novel, From the Ground Up! Sweeping me up in Tess and Barrett’s love story from the very first page, this sweet, real-life romance quickly stole my heart. High school sweethearts Tess and Barrett are all grown up and the stress of work, married life, and raising children has taken its toll on their relationship. With a lifetime of love to fight for, this couple was ready to do the work and it was this unpretentious storyline and unwavering loyalty that had me so hooked on these two. Tess and Barrett’s connection was palpable. There was something magical about the way they loved each other so fiercely and without reservation for most of their lives that spoke to me, gave me hope for a lasting happily ever after and left me rooting for this memorable couple. Balancing out all of the simple sweetness was a sense of humor that had me laughing out loud and just enough steam to leave a grin on my face. From the Ground Up is the complete package – genuine, hopeful and easy to connect with.

“How did this happen between us? Did I pull away first, or did she? Or did it just happen because we both forgot to care? Forgot to put effort into each other and started to take the other for granted?”

One of the things I loved most about this book was how distinct Tess and Barrett’s personalities were. They were very much a couple who knew each other inside and out and that understanding of one another came through loud and clear, painting a vibrant and oftentimes hilarious picture of these two characters. However, I also appreciated the struggle Jennifer Van Wyk put her characters through. Knowing each other so well had made them complacent and I enjoying seeing them try to rekindle the sparks that come from getting to know someone for the first time. As Tess and Barrett got reacquainted, the reader was privy to every nuance of their relationship and what made them such a fantastic couple. The connection I formed with Tess and Barrett as I read this novel was decidedly intimate, a product of the rare and breathtaking look at their most private insecurities and fears. By the time all was said and done, I was deeply invested in this couple and sad to see this story come to an end.

“I don’t need empty promises. I don’t need him to tell me he’ll make all my wildest dreams happen, because it’s just not possible. What I need to hear is that he’ll be by my side, walking with me through our crazy life, remembering that we are in this together.”

While I don’t read a lot of stories where the characters have already fallen in love, From the Ground Up definitely opened my eyes to an entirely new kind of romance. Not only did I experience the ups and downs of fighting for a love you’ve already found, but Jennifer Van Wyk ensured that readers got to fall in love for the first time alongside this fantastic couple as pieces of their teenage love story were revealed in parallel to the reality of married life and parenthood. The pacing in From the Ground Up is a little slower since the feelings behind this story are already established and deep which means there isn’t a lot of explosive, heated drama. However, there is definitely plenty of intrigue and a colorful cast of secondary characters that made this story absolutely shine. I absolutely adored the ease with which this story was told. Every emotion rang true and I could feel how much heart and soul went into this book. Jennifer Van Wyk is definitely an author to look out for. Funny, captivating and beautifully written, From the Ground Up is a poignant reminder of what it takes to love for a lifetime.

Rating
4.5.png

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