Friday, October 29, 2010

Simple Jess - Pamela Morsi

The last thing widow Althea Winsloe wanted to do was remarry. Unfortunately, her meddlesome mountain neighbors had other plans. So, one autumn night they banded together and gave Althea a shocking ultimatum: She was to find herself a husband by Christmas...or the town would do it for her! Althea knew she had her choice of any single man in Marrying Stone, Arkansas. Yet the only one she felt truly comfortable with was Simple Jess. Sweet and gentle, Jess wasn't as smart as your average man. But his tender manner stirred Althea's heart in ways she had never dreamed possible.

It would take a miracle to find a husband in Marrying Stone. But sometimes miracles are right under your nose....

I had never read a Pamela Morsi book but I heard so many good things about this one that when I found a copy I decided that it was time to try it.

The story opens with Althea, a widow, being forced by her late husband's family to choose a new husband. Althea is not interested in marrying again. She married her husband so as to have her own home and not be a burden to her family anymore. She had a baby and she wants her farm to be her son’s legacy. If she married her new husband would be the one managing the farm and they might have more children so the land would have to be divided. Besides, there's no one she would want to marry...

Unfortunately the best she can do is buy some time, she will have to find a husband soon. Althea plans to continue with her everyday life until she can come up with a solution. She needs help with the farm chores and so she decides to hire Jess to help her.

Jess is a bit slow due to a brain injury when he was born. He knows things, he knows a lot more than some other men who are considered smarter, but he needs time to process his thoughts. Most people don't give him that time and write him off as an idiot but he is far from that. And after spending some time with him Althea starts appreciating his gentleness and his intelligence.

I must say that to me Jesse was the true star of this book; he is a lovely character, aware of his limitations but trying to overcome them by learning the most he can. He feels very attracted to Althea from the very beginning but he is afraid to act due to his problems. I was quite happy when Althea realised his worth. It was quite funny how she sometimes felt exasperated with him only to realise that he had good reasons to act as he did.

Althea and most especially Jesse are far from your usual romance heroine and hero. With them you remember what is really important and how sometimes that is not valued as it should be. I am now very curious to read more books by Pamela Morsi, especially The Marrying Stone which is a prequel of Simple Jess (although SJ stands alone really well).

Grade: 4.5/5


  1. Ana, you make me want to reread this. I remember adoring Jess. Morsi is a very good author. Americana isn't really a genre that appeals to me, but it does when she writes it! Try Wild Oats... it's just as good as Simple Jess.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, I'm writing it down...

  3. What I love about Morsi's Americana books is that there is a "gentleness" to them - even though she does write s-e-x. Like Rosario, I really enjoyed Wild Oats. I'd also recommend Courting Miss Hattie :)

    Sigh, and now I want to re-read this one....and I just can't right now! I'm really backed-up with my reading at the moment....

  4. Janet W: I adored Simple Jess. I read it every year at least. What is incredible to me is that everyone, including him, is unaware of his worth to the community. The widow's farm is not a go without his strong back AND smarts about farming. Plus the fiddle. And the looks :)

  5. I still haven't started her other books but they are not forgotten. ;-)

    Very true, he had an important role and no one valued him...


I love to chat about books and stuff and I would love to hear from like minded readers. Please do leave me a comment :-)


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