In all senses of the word, this is a love story. Not a romance. The novel features a young widow who is forced by the community she lives in to pick a new husband. She's being courted by two handsome, elligible bachelors, neither of whom she's interested in. Her attention is instead drawn to her hired hand, Jesse Best, who is known locally as "Simple Jess" because of a brain injury as a result of his birth. In a community where he isn't treated as an equal, Jesse finds himself being viewed as a partner, by a beautiful woman who has seen past his shortcomings, and into his heart.
I really enjoyed this book--a light read, but very engaging.
This was a wonderful, sweet story. I had reread it this winter, lent to a friend and am now letting it go. It was my favorite by this author.
Althea Winsloe is a young widow with a son named Baby-Paisley and a farm with the finest corn bottom on the mountain. Just like the best Jane Austen society, the Ozark community thinks that Althea is in need of a husband. But instead of Regency balls, Morsi's courting is conducted at hog slaughters (described in non-gory detail) and mountain socials. Althea is given until Christmas to pick herself a man, and to everyone's surprise, except the reader's, she chooses Simple Jess, a combination of Forrest Gump, Mr. Universe and a really great golden retriever. Jess Best may not be a smart man, but he sure knows what love is-and sex. Morsi is clever enough to incorporate mountain vocabulary and customs without a lot of twangy dialect.
Another good clean read by Pamela Morsi. Listed as a historical romance it features a widowed mountain woman and her son baby Paisley and sweet and gentle Simple Jess. I've read this twice and guess I'll give it up just for more shelf room. Or maybe if it doesn't go right away that'll be a sign its a keeper for sure.
Morsi (Marrying Stone Bk #1) returns to Marrying Stone, Ark., 1906.
Althea Winsloe is a young widow with a son named Baby-Paisley and a farm with the finest corn bottom on the mountain. The Ozark community thinks that Althea is in need of a husband. Courting is conducted at hog slaughters and mountain socials. Althea is given until Christmas to pick herself a man, and to everyone's surprise she chooses Simple Jess.
What a wonderful love story! Set in Marrying Stone, Arkansas, 1906, the mountain people, especially her mother-in-law, have taken it upon themselves to force widowed Althea Winsloe to remarry. Althea doesn't want another husband. She is happy with her young son Baby-Paisley and doesn't see a need to take on another husband, even if she does have the best corn-bottom land on the mountain. Her suitors just want the farm and her late husband's hunting dogs. She decides she will sell the dogs then maybe no one will want to marry her.
Jesse Best, called Simple Jess, is considered feeble-minded, but it was caused from a complicated birth. Just because his thinking is slow doesn't mean he isn't a man. Once he knows something, he doesn't forget it. And he's honest to a fault. He would love to have his own hunting dogs, but he doesn't have enough money. Althea makes a deal with him that he can have the dogs in exchange for helping her on the farm to get ready for winter. That's when things begin to heat up.
Several other interesting characters to make this a wonderful book. Highly recommend.
Widow Althea Winsloe has vowed that she will not marry again. She has devoted her life to her young son, Baby-Paisley, and wants to ensure that he will inherit his late father's farm. But Althea knows she can't survive the winter on her own. When Jesse Best hears that she is willing to sell her husband's hunting dogs, he makes an offer for a dog. Althea offers him the whole pack if Simple Jess will do some work around the farm. Jess is a big strong man who suffered some brain damage when he was born. He is slow to learn but eventually accomplishes what he wants to do.
When the families on the mountain insist that Althea marry and give her son a father, they put forth two suitors and tell her she has to marry one of them by Christmas. Will she pick Eben Baxley or Oather Phillips? Or will she pick the man she has come to rely on?
If you're looking for a unique story with a historical setting, this is a good one. Althea is a strong heroine who will do anything to make sure her son will inherit the farm. But the story is all about Simple Jess. He knows he is different but doesn't let his disability stop him. He has dreams. He wants to someday marry and have children.
The setting of this story is wonderful. The characters are fantastic, including Althea's two suitors. At first I hated Eben Baxley, but he did redeem himself at bit toward the end of the book. Oather was another wonderful character with a lot of family problems. I wish Pamela Morsi would write two more books featuring these heroes. My rating: 4.5 Stars.
Althea Winsloe is a widow with a young son, good farm land and 4 of the best hunting dogs in the area. Her family and community are pressuring her to remarry and she is dead set against it. She was the spare relative as a child shuffled from relative to relative when her widower father remarried and moved away and she just wants to make her own decisions and take care of herself and her farm. Only one problem, winter is coming she does not have meat or other provisions to last the winter and she had not put in a crop to harvest. She makes the decision to sell the hunting dogs to earn some money.
Jesse Best was deprived of oxygen at birth and is challenged mentally and is called by the community Simple Jess. He is a good man and a hard worker. He wants one of the dogs that Althea is selling so he goes to her and offers all the money he has, a quarter, to buy a dog. Althea tells him that he can work for her to earn the dogs and Jesse starts laying in meat and other provisions so Althea and her son can winter in safety with food and fuel.
The community is determined to have Althea married and they hold a kangaroo court where it is decreed that she must marry on Christmas Day (only 3 weeks away).
The book has strong secondary characters who factor into Althea and Jesse's lives as she struggles to decide who to marry. I was able to see the leaning of her heart but the author keeps the true outcome until the end of the book. Not just for Althea and Jesse but for several of the secondary characters.
If you have ever read a LaVyrle Spencer book this has a very similar style. Heartwarming.
This is an engaging story about a simpleminded man who is attracted to a widow and her son. They live in the Ozark Mountains and in this area, widows are not really tolerated. Because Althea Winsloe is young and pretty -- and owns the best corn-growing land in the area, the community decides she must marry again.
Althea did not really enjoy her time married and does not want to marry again. She wants to save the land for her son. Because winter is coming, she hires Simple Jess to get enough meat hanging in her smokehouse to carry her through the hard winter. Althea hires Jess by offering him her husband's hounds in payment.
As usual, Pamela Morsi paints her characters with clear portraits of their strengths and weaknesses. This is a wonderful story.
1. Marrying Stone (1994)
** 2. Simple Jess (1996)
3. The Lovesick Cure (2012)
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 Marry 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...