Who Run the world? Girls!
In Missouri Vaun’s wonderful novel All Things Rise we got a brief introduction to Jessica Walker, a kind, quiet woman who now takes center stage in this follow up novella, The Ground Beneath. Both novels can stand alone, but it’s best to read All Things Rise in order to get some proper background into the world of these two stories. You can read my review of All Things Rise: Here. Believe me lovelies, it’s definitely worth the read. I’m STILL gushing about it! I mean, really, the scene with the red dress??? Whoo! I won’t give anything away, but really, if you haven’t read it, please do. It’s one of those books that makes me thankful for the privilege of reading and finding great authors.
But now, onto the new book…
Here’s the Deal:
Samantha Casey is trying to recover from a bad break up. Okay, recover is maybe the wrong word. She’s just trying to live through the days, what to speak of healing and all that jazz. She’s taking solace in her loneliness. She’s fine with just making it through the days, because opening up again, allowing others in her space again, that would make her vulnerable to loss, and after this current blow, she’s not sure she wants to feel much of anything ever again.
Jessica Walker doesn’t have much experience with relationships at all. She’s a gentle and quiet soul. She’s kind, but logical. Sensitive and sweet. She seems like the poster child for homebodies. She sews, cooks, cleans, loves tending house and seems as though she is most in her element when she can do things that nurture others.
The world as we know it has changed in this future realm where Sam and Jessica make their lives. Life on the ground, beneath the metropolitan hubs known as the cloud cities, has reverted back to an old world way of living. There is no electricity. There are no cell phones. There are no cars. It’s like entering amish country…minus the outfits. And the religious fervor…well, almost.
Because most transactions on the ground occur through a barter system, an agreement puts Sam and Jessica together every night while Sam crafts a special item for Jessica in return for Jessica’s culinary skills each evening. While a romance begins to bloom for Jessica, will Sam be able to open her heart enough to accept the beautiful woman who has her sights set on Sam’s heart?
This is a novella filled with rich, complex, multi-dimensional characters and a plot that kept me reading from the beginning to the end. Danger, love, growth, and hope stir together to create yet another masterpiece from Missouri Vaun. And I can’t wait to see what she’ll release next.
Sam has been hurt. Badly. And she’s closed herself off. And while it might not be healthy, I totally feel where she’s coming from. I get it. And I kind of agreed. Investing oneself completely in a relationship, feeling everything so deeply only to feel abandoned in the end is definitely grounds for wanting to become an emotional hermit. Sam is a capable character. She exudes that kind of grounded energy that made her seem like a pillar of support for Jessica’s character.
Jessica is a character who is easy to like. I loved her from the moment I began reading about her. She seemed like an incredible kindred spirit for me. Someone that I could more than relate to. Someone whose soul I felt I understood, even though she lives only in the pages of the novel. Jessica works in the kitchen the way others would work in an art studio, the way Sam works on handcrafting pieces of furniture. She expresses herself through cooking and with her quiet, but determined nature, I almost felt as though I were reading about myself. I suppose that’s one of my favorite things about reading, the ability to live through those in the stories. The chance to find others to connect with that make us feel a little less isolated on this journey of life.
Sam and Jessica worked well together. They were realistic. Never was there a time when I thought…oh, come on, that would never happen with real people! They were fully formed characters and even though this was a novella, Missouri Vaun never skimped out on details or character development. It was a shorter story than her previous novel, but it was by no means rushed. This was a story that was cooked and seasoned to perfection.
Without giving too much away, I think my favorite aspect of this novella was that the message seemed to be that women always have the strength to save themselves. The notion of a damsel in distress was totally gone from this work, thrown out the window, never to be seen again. Because of love, hope, faith and trust, Jessica who seemed like a timid character at the beginning of the book tapped into a strength far greater than she thought possible. When she accessed and fully embraced that strength, I found myself standing up and cheering for her. Literally. It was so beautiful to see her character blossom.
At first glance I thought that I had the roles of the relationship figured out. Sam was the pillar, the trunk of the tree and Jessica was the beautiful vine creeping around it, embracing it and caressing it, adding beauty to its rough exterior. But towards the end of the novel it seemed as though the roles reversed. Sam had to learn how to let go. To depend on another. To allow another to see her vulnerability and hold emotional space for her.
Jessica was able to find that she could be the pillar of support and the soft place to land. She could be the tree trunk and the creeper. Looking at these shifting dynamics and the interplay between masculine and feminine energies has always been one of my favorite and one of the most fascinating and magical aspects of lesbian relationships. The way these two characters grew together, learned together and surrendered themselves to love and all of the lessons that it had to teach them was nothing short of fantastic.
I will mention that I received an ARC copy of this novella from the author, but that couldn’t have influenced this review even if I wanted it to. This novella doesn’t need a gimmick or a marketing incentive to succeed. It simply does all on its own. Missouri Vaun writes about complex relationships and the connections between people and the love they share, and she makes it seem so effortless. The Ground Beneath was truly a joy to read. I would recommend it in a heartbeat. It is a hopeful story with a happy ending (You know how I love those…).
This was a love story where the characters weren’t looking for someone to make them whole. They came to the relationship with their separate personalities, hang ups, baggage, and even their dreams. But in the course of forging the relationship, instead of being “completed” by the other person, their synergy turned them both into entities that were stronger, more connected and more fully human than they could have ever been on their own.
This novella was everything that is awesome about life, love and feminine power and resilience. By the time I was done reading I felt like I was ready to conquer fears and climb mountains. This was a book that reminded me of all that was beautiful about the potential of love and what the miracle of love could do to heal the human spirit. But in the immortal words of Lavar Burton, don’t just take my word for it. Read it, love it, review it. I know I absolutely loved this five star story from a wonderful writer and I really can’t wait to read more from her. Another home run, knocked out of the park! A standing ovation for Missouri Vaun on this one.
Check it out for yourself and purchase the book on
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As always, wishing you romance and whimsy