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, 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.
Proclaimed "a refreshing new voice in romance" by Jude Deveraux, award-winning author Pamela Morsi has charmed millions with her touching stories of simple pleasures and heartfelt romances. Her novels, including Garters, Wild Oats, and Something Shady, have won her rave reviews and loyal fans. Now she presents an endearing story about what can happen when love turns up in the most unlikely place....
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Captivating romantic historical fiction!
Yes! The narrator was top notch. His performance really added to the novel. The narrator has such a pleasing tone of voice and is very gifted at sounding like different people, including men, women, and children. I read that the narrator is from Arkansas, and I do think the accents sound authentic (I have visited that state twice.)
I received a free copy of the audiobook in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This is the first book I have read or listened to by Pamela Morsi, and now she is one of my favorite authors. I was so pleased by this novel and by the narration.
I would classify this as romantic historical fiction. It does have romantic elements and a happy ending like a romance would have, but the number of love scenes is very few (but moderately explicit) and the romance is not as strongly emphasized as it would be in a romance novel. This book is set in the early 1800s in a remote, tiny town in the mountains of Arkansas. The town is full of colorful characters who all seem to want a say in what the young widow Althea should do with her life, her farm, and her toddler. It is a quaint little community that reminds me of the TV show "Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman" but without the railroad or Native Americans. The title character, Jessie Best, is a good young man in his 20s who is not as smart as other people. When he was born, the cord was wrapped around his neck, resulting in minor brain damage. He is not autistic because he has no problem reading other peoples' emotions. His reasoning skills are rather poor, and he has trouble understanding conversations when lots of people are talking. However, he works very hard physically on the farm, and he takes his time figuring out situations and what he should do. Jessie is such a wonderful person, and it bothered me how many of the townspeople discriminated against him and also took him for granted.
The novel is very well-researched. I love the many details of daily life, and it is fascinating how much work it took to get ready for a harsh Arkansas winter.
The novel is told in third person, alternating among five people. The writer deftly handled the alternating points of view, never staying too long on any one person.
The novel has a steady pacing. Plot and relationship developments are fairly evenly spaced for most of the 12.5 hours of audio length. The steady pacing reminds me of that in Susanna Kearsley's novels, which are excellent.
Four of the five main characters are are admirable and easy to relate to. They are good people trying to stay true to themselves and do what is best for their families. The fifth main character, Eben Baxley, is such a nasty villain, and the narrator's performance of this character was impressively perfect.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves historical fiction set in frontier areas and any historical romance fan who appreciates a well-written Western romance. It will also appeal to romance fans who like unusual male heroes. Wonderful audio book!
- Diana in SC
An unexpected romance gem I solidly recommend!
- Rhianna Walker