This is a unique story about finding love when the other person has been your best friend for years. Hattie Colfax is a plain woman of 29 years. Both parents are dead and Hattie has been tending her farm with only help from Reed Tyler.
Reed started working at the Colfax farm when Hatties father hired him to help out at their farm; Reed was less than 10 at the time. He loves the land; Hattie has promised to sell it to him when he has saved enough to buy it. Reed is 24 years old.
Bessie Jane is the beautiful, spoiled 17 year-old engaged to marry Reed; she wants to marry NOW and Reed patiently tells her they must wait. Reed refuses to marry until he can provide for a wife.
This quiet situation is suddenly overturned by the news that Ancil Drayton, a recent widower with seven children, plans to court Miss Hattie. It takes Reed some time to realize that he is jealous; hes never looked at the five year older Hattie as a woman.
This is an absolutely beautiful story; why only 4 stars? *************SPOILERS **************** When Ancil Drayton becomes enraged that Hattie shies away from his kisses, he calls her cruel names. Then he tells other men why he really wants to marry Hattie and it has nothing to do with her fine character or charm. Hattie is a strong woman; I cannot imagine her standing for such cruel treatment just to get married (never mind that hes a mean, weak person).
I simply could not understand why Bessie Jane suddenly agreed to marry Harmon. They had been in love with each other for years. Bessie Janes dad hated Harmon and tossed him from his home. She was a snob and did not want to marry a junkman. What suddenly changed?
This is an original story that is really well-written. The characters are real and engaging. I was hooked from page one.
Courting Miss Hattie 1992 RITA Award for Best Novel
This is so good that I re-read it in 2019.