Showing posts with label Pamela Morsi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pamela Morsi. Show all posts

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mr. Right Goes Wrong by Pamela Morsi

Pamela Morsi is a favorite writer whose Americana historical romances I dearly love. In Mr. Right Goes Wrong, Morsi's latest contemporary romance, she takes two people whose lives are made up of mistakes and bad choices and gives them the chance to prove to themselves and each other that change is possible.

Mazy Gulliver has been a doormat and a slave to love her entire adult life. She has chosen one wrong man after another with disastrous results. Mazy returns home with teenage son Tru to stay with her mother, determined to begin again and do right by herself and her son. Mazy's first move is to secure a job at the local bank as a loan collector working for Tad, Tru's biological father. She then visits her best friend Eli who is looking mighty fine these days. Sexual chemistry is still there between them, but Mazy is not sure Eli is for her until later when she slowly begins to believe that Eli may be her Mr. Right.

Eli Latham is the guy next door. He is sweet, nice and dependable and not Mazy's type, except when it comes to sex. Mazy is back in town and Eli's heart can't help but hope, but she is working with Tad the Cad -- does Mazy plan to get back with Tad? Eli still loves Mazy and comes to the conclusion that if she is looking for a new jerk in her life then he, Eli, is going to be her Mr. Wrong.

Morsi's Mr. Right Goes Wrong is both a romance and a personal road to wellness that encompasses both main characters, with Mazy the type of female protagonist that many readers may not like right off the bat. She has gone from one relationship to another, dragging her son Tru along the way. For a large portion of the novel as Mazy attempts to make sense of her life, she slowly turns a corner in her job but is still the clueless doormat I mention above in her newly minted relationship with Eli. She is downright pathetic at times and I admit to gnashing my teeth throughout many scenes. In Morsi's hands, however, there are reasons behind Mazy's actions as well as character growth and a good payoff at the end.

Of the two, Eli may be the most "sympathetic," at least initially. He's a fine, responsible man who loves Mazy unconditionally. Eli is also one of the most beta male characters I've encountered in a while -- caring, giving, and seriously laid back. But in his quest to win Mazy, Eli becomes as judgmental as the rest of those people he hated for hurting Mazy and goes too far. As he goes down the "beta to hard ass" road, Morsi brings Eli's character full circle and he makes a few personal discoveries of his own, not all them comfortable or pleasant.

Morsi excels at incorporating secondary characters from a small town and making their roles count. So we have tertiary characters that make an impact, as well as secondary characters such as Tru, -- a great character by the way and the love of Mazy's life -- Tad the Cad, Mazy's mother, and Eli's family. As a secondary storyline, Morsi successfully adds depth to this story by focusing on Tru's budding relationship with his biological father as well as on the relationship he develops with Eli.

In Mr. Right Goes Wrong, I find that the characters' journeys to personal wellness and happiness are interesting but equally frustrating. Morsi, however, has a talent for creating down to earth characters with depth and infusing subtle humor in her stories even when the issues they confront are complex. I recommend this romance to readers who appreciate Morsi’s writing style and enjoy a well earned happy ever after.

Category: Contemporary Romance
Series: None
Publisher/Release Date: Harlequin MIRA/August 1, 2014
Source: eARC Harlequin MIRA via NetGalley
Grade: B-

Visit Pamela Morsi here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

TBR Review: Here Comes the Bride by Pamela Morsi

The theme for this month's TBR Challenge is "new-to-me-author." Unfortunately, I picked up and discarded a slew of books that just did not work for me this month -- an unusual event that I think has more to do with my current "reader's block" that the books themselves. In the end, I decided to read a book from a favorite author's backlist. Pamela Morsi.

There comes a time in every woman's life when she must get herself a man or give up on the idea entirely. Augusta Mudd had reached that moment. Miss Gussie, as she was known to all, was in the spring of her thirty-first year. All through her twenties she had reminded herself that there was still plenty of youth ahead. At thirty itself she had taken comfort in the fact that she was barely out of her twenties. But thirty-one --- thirty-one was definitely an accounting that brought realization, or perhaps even resignation.

"Get it done or past contemplation."
Thus begins Here Comes the Bride by Pamela Morsi. It is the late 1890's in Cottonwood, Texas. At thirty-one, Gussie has inherited a successful ice-making business and property from her father. She has become a keen businesswoman happy with her lot in life, but is missing only one thing to make it complete -- a man. Gussie is also a straight shooter and after walking out for three years with Amos Dewey, she decides that it is past time that he proposes, but since he hasn't, she approaches him with her own marriage proposal. Go Gussie! But, Amos bulks and flees leaving Gussie angry and not a bit humiliated, but not defeated. She thinks about the situation overnight and comes up with a plan to have a perfect wedding and her man.

The next day she approaches her employee, Rome Akers, with a direct proposal: to make Amos jealous and bring him to heel, all Rome has to do is pretend to be Gussie's new beau. As an incentive, Gussie offers Rome the partnership in her business – his dreams come true. Rome admires Gussie for her business sense and straightforward manner and thinks she deserves to be happy. He has certain reservations about this plan, but being an ambitious young man, Rome accepts and throws himself into his role wholeheartedly.

Problems soon arise when both Rome and Gussie realize they have much in common and begin having fun together. Admiration for each other grows and kisses soon come into the equation. In the meantime Amos is fighting his attraction for Pansy Reynolds, the town's wicked widow and Rome's longtime secret lover. Rome and Gussie, Amos and Pansy will have to make decisions that in the end may break their collective hearts.

Here Comes the Bride is another romance where Morsi uses the collective town to both aid and to create conflict while developing the romance. There are two factors that play a major role here, human nature and societal views of the times. Morsi plays one against the other deftly by using two couples whose lives interact closely, but that in the end deal with two very different conflicts.
Morsi's female characters drive the story, and not surprisingly, they also contrast sharply against each other. Gussie is the virginal, sexually naive female who shows strength as a businesswoman with a keen mind and not a few feminist views. However, Gussie works within traditional boundaries set by local society so that she is accepted and respected regardless of her role as a business owner. This stands out only because this historical romance is set in a small town where conservative views prevailed.

Pansy, on the other hand, is portrayed as a widow who loved her husband and was a faithful wife, but became the town pariah after her husband's death when she rejected society's traditions by taking lovers. Pansy is scorned and only allowed to gain love and/or show courage through public self-humiliation. Morsi also makes a point of showing that although men may also be shunned by a conservative society for having illicit liaisons, they are quickly forgiven, particularly if or when that man is a respected businessman. Money, respectability, sex, and religious foundations -- all very interesting subjects that interconnect from a historical perspective in this romance.

The romance between Gussie and Rome is sweet! I loved Rome's admiration for this woman and his absolute adoration and passion for her once the two click. And Gussie's contradictory character is another favorite, as she goes from being an authoritative and driven businesswoman to a woman in love who learns to appreciate passion in her life. The romance between Amos and Pansy on the other hand did not work for me. I believe that is because I couldn't stand Amos and his brutal rejection of Pansy or his lack of understanding/care for Gussie. I did not buy his love for Pansy or frankly, Pansy's love for Amos. I did like Pansy! I liked her loyalty and courage, even though I hated, hated, hated what she did in the end.

Here Comes the Bride is a historical romance that seems sweet on the surface. However, Morsi is sneaky in that she makes her romances seem simple, but by keeping her characters true to the mores of the times, she also manages to make points that make me think in contemporary terms. As always, an enjoyable, solid read, by a favorite author.
April 2013

Category: Historical Romance/Americana
Series: None
Publisher/Release Date: Avon/July 3, 2000 - Print Ed.
Grade: B

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Minis: Jeffrey Ricker, Leslie Kelly, Susan Andersen, Pamela Morsi

Is everyone else overwhelmed this December? I am. It seems as if there's no time left for breathing, let alone reading or blogging. Business and the holidays -- a crazy combination. I am getting ready to go on vacation. One more week to go, and then ten whole days off! Hopefully during that time, I will have time to read all those books I planned to read and that I piled up on my table. But enough whining already!

Again, this week I began reading a couple of books and have not been able to finish them. It has been frustrating! A frustrating month. I don't even have a review ready today... sigh. So I figured I would give you an idea of what I've read so far this month which totals five whole books! (ETA: Guess I wasn't done whining)

  • I began the month on a high note by reading Jeffrey Ricker's  gay fiction debut novel Detours. This story is rather interesting in that it begins with the main character saying a hopeful good bye to the man who might be the love of his life two weeks after they meet, only to go home and become involved with another man right after he finds out that his mother died unexpectedly. From there the story really becomes a kind of road trip where this character comes to terms with his life, past and future, as well as his mother's passing, all while accompanied by his mother's ghost. Detours turned out to be engrossing, amusing, and in many ways deeply moving. 
  • Gears changed when the month became complicated and I picked up Terms of Surrender by Leslie Kelly. This is a Blaze and as such it's up there on the hot sexin' scale. I enjoyed it up to a certain point, but there were too many circumstances where plausibility became a problem. Marissa is a psychologist, an anonymous blogger on the side and a published author. She gets a job as a lecturer on an Air Force base and falls for Danny, a man who she thinks is a mechanic but turns out to be a pilot. There's the misunderstanding trope, the baggage, and the "I hate what you do for a living, but I'll do you anyway" theme going on in this book. These two were ripping their clothes off all over the base and everywhere else, but... Mari still had a problem with Danny's job, not the man himself. The story had its moments, but that's about all I can say. 
  • Then I decided to continue hitting my contemporary "to be read pile" and read Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen. I loved Playing Dirty, the third book in this contemporary trilogy, but unfortunately I had problems with this book. Let's see, I like the premise of the story itself, where Poppy and Jason's romance grows while they help unruly teenage "taggers" pay for bad behavior by working in a community project. It's one of those romances that begins with lots of suppressed heat that comes off as hostility and eventually it turns into hot steam. Why the problem then? A couple of problems with the characters themselves, beginning with Jason who calls Poppy the "Babe" from beginning to end. This irked me to no end! I'm sorry, but he really comes off as a chauvinist pig, insecure or not (he carries tons of personal baggage and doesn't think he's good enough for her). Then Poppy goes around feeling "diminished by him" but still allows him to run over her, through her and around her -- until almost the end. This was okay, but not my favorite read in this trilogy so far. :( 
  • As the month continued I totally went 180 degrees in my reading and picked up War by Sebastian Junger. This is a non-fiction read and not my usual choice of read during the holidays. However, again I was looking through my "to be read pile" and there it was... staring at me for the 100th time. I began skimming and couldn't stop reading. I already wrote a mini-review for this book, so I'm not going to go on about it. I'll just tell you that reading this book floored me and I do believe it is one of the reasons I couldn't continue to read anything else for while. The documentary really drove the whole thing home too. Great work! 
  • When I read War, I had already begun reading Sweetwood Bride by Pamela Morsi. I love this author, however, unfortunately this is not my favorite read by her. Eulie lies by saying she's pregnant and the community of Sweetwood, Tennessee forces Mosco to marry her. In fact, all they have shared is a sweet peck by the river. What Eulie really wants is to garner a secure future for her five siblings. Mosco has dreams! He dreams of going to Texas after he's done fulfilling his duties to his crippled uncle Jeptha, and a wife and children are not part of his plans. As much as I enjoy Morsi's writing, her deep character development and stories, I'm afraid that I just could not for the life of me get behind what Eulie did to Mosco. She forced him into a relationship and killed his dreams forever. I don't care if they fell in love, I just couldn't get past that initial feeling that Eulie was a selfish girl/woman. Even to the end I feel that Mosco wanted to get on that horse to ride west. 

So, that's it... those are the books I've completed in December so far. I have read a few short stories here and there from Christmas anthologies. I also began reading A Place Called Home by Jo Goodman and The Hunter by Theresa Meyer, but have not finished them. Hopefully this weekend!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Review: The Love Charm by Pamela Morsi

The Love Charm by Pamela Morsi is one of those oldies but goodies I love to read and review every so often. I review what I read at Impressions..., and often the books reviewed are back list books by great writers. I've been catching up with Ms. Morsi's Americana historical romance novels and this 1996 release is one of them.

I've been collecting her works in print, and until recently was not lucky enough to get my hands on a copy. However, for those of you who do want to read this book and can't get your hands on a print copy, please note that the digital edition of the book became available in May 2011.

The fairest in all Louisiana...

Aida Gaudet has charm and fire enough to enflame the desires of any man. Like a hurricane descending upon the bayou, her unparalleled beauty has thrown a humble Acadian town into turmoil--setting neighbor against neighbor in competition for her attentions. But Aida wants what no one yet has offered her: she wants to know true love.

A steadfast pillar of a tight-knit community--someone to trust in times of trouble--Armand Sonnier also feels Aida's fire. And he, too, burns for this rare, radiant jewel who can never be his, for she is promised to his closest friend.

But the bayou moon can work many strange sorceries--compelling even a rational young man to take irrational risks... as it strengthens his resolve to win an enchantress's restless heart with passion, determination, and a cup of voodoo magic.
The Love Charm by Pamela Morsi is another book full of the type of characters that I've come to expect from this writer's stories. These are hard working, everyday people who find love while going about their ordinary daily lives. She sets this story in a small Acadian town smack in the middle of the Louisiana bayou, and in true Morsi style she provides the necessary details to set the type of atmosphere that takes and keeps the reader straight to place. The time is 1820, however, although I knew that I was reading a historical, I lost track of the exact time when this novel is set, possibly due to the remoteness of the location and the sub-culture that Morsi explores with such success. Regardless, as expected, Morsi's characters and romances (there are three) take center stage.

The central romance is that of Aida Gaudet and Armand Sonnier. Aida is considered the most beautiful woman in Louisiana and is initially engaged to Laron, the best looking man in the bayou. She is viewed as a somewhat scatterbrained, superficial woman by the community, and that includes Armand and even herself. Armand Sonnier, the most educated man in the bayou and Laron's best friend has loved Aida from afar since they were no more than children. But he's never been able to take action because of what he sees as his one flaw -- he's handsome but short for a man. His stature keeps him from going after what he wants, Aida.

Their romance encompasses the whole book, and although it's full of misunderstandings caused by their personal insecurities, with a little help from a love charm, a friend, and true love, Ms. Morsi delivers in the end. As an aside, this is the first romance I read where the male protagonist is quite short, shorter than the female. For example, Aida mentions a few times how shocking and unusual it is to meet a man's gaze straight on... plus, she mentions seeing the part of his hair when they are dancing together. This aspect of Aida and Armand's romance is really well done, but that should not be a surprise. Morsi loves to create characters that stand out and of course she makes it work!

There are two secondary romances, although I hate to call them that because they pack such an emotional punch and make such an impact that one of them is actually my favorite in this book. Aida's fiancé Laron is a gorgeous man with all the physical goods, but there's so much more to him. Laron has been conducting a long-term affair with Helga, the "German widow," who lives just outside of the Acadian community. She and her three children adore Laron for good reasons, and as the story moves along it's obvious that the love these two people share is deep and true. Morsi spared no emotions when writing this couple's romance - highs, lows and in-betweens. I fell in love with Laron and Helga.

And then we have Armand's oldest brother Jean Baptiste Sonnier and his wife Felicité. Ohhh, this was good! This was just SO good! Jean Baptiste and sweet Felicité were married when very young, and she has been pregnant almost every year since then. Jean Baptiste says he loves her, but he's tired of the fact that his wife is always fat and the responsibilities of marriage are dragging him down. Jean Baptiste is envious of Armand, Laron and all the other single young men who are having fun while he's dragged down by all the babies and the "fat" wife! With a little help from a friend sweet Felicité gives Jean Baptiste exactly what he deserves. Yes!!!! What a great scene! I loved the final resolution for this couple, just loved it.

In summary, The Love Charm by Pamela Morsi is a solid historical romance that contains all of the writer's best traits: excellent characterization, atmosphere, wonderful setting and inspired writing. She again includes a whole community of characters to complete the story and give it depth without taking the focus away from its main purpose, romance. What I'll remember about The Love Charm is that, although I enjoyed the central romance which is pivotal to the story as a whole and has the distinction of including a short male protagonist, a secondary romance became my favorite and the other one has one of the best resolutions I've read in a while. All in all a solid, enjoyable read for me from Pamela Morsi.

Category: Americana Historical Romance
Series: None
Publisher/Released: Avon Books/November 1, 1996
Grade: B

Visit Pamela Morsi here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and some Pamela Morsi Americana...

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I'm getting ready for my family get together tomorrow. Everyone in my family is going to be here. My brother is traveling from Florida, so all my brothers, their wives and children will be present this year. Nice! I just got home from work, but the cooking and baking are already underway. Of course we'll be having the traditional American meal of turkey with all the trimmings. It's a wonderful holiday, and I wish all of you celebrating tomorrow a Happy Thanksgiving with your families.

And because this blog is all about books and reading, I would like to follow that up with the nice surprise I had when I arrived home today. Last year I read and loved some excellent Americana historical romance. I fell in love with quite a few authors. One of those authors is Pamela Morsi. Well, I finally found some of her back list books, ordered them and they are here!

  • I loved, loved Simple Jess. It was my very first Pamela Morsi read (the way the same friend who sent me the Balogh books, introduced me to Ms. Morsi's works by sending me that book. Isn't she the best?). The Marrying Stone is the book that comes before Simple Jess in sequence and I've been wanting to read it for about a year now. It's the romance between Jess's sister Meg and Roe Farley. I can't wait to go back to Marrying Stone Mountain in the Osarks! 
  • Here Comes the Bride is another book that I've had in my sights for about a year now. This is the romance between Augusta Mudd and Rome Akers and this one is set in a small town in Texas. The description of the book reminds me a little bit of Courting Miss Hattie (my very favorite Morsi read) and I can't wait to read it. :)
  • The Love Charm is another book I've had on my wish list for a long time. The setting alone sounds too intriguing to pass up. The story is set in19th Century Louisiana and the characters are Acadian. There seem to be a few romances going on at the same time in this story, but the main characters are Armand Sonnier and Aida Gaudet. 

Sooo, I have lots of great books to read! I wonder which books will call to me in the next couple of weeks. Notice that all of them are historical romances. Interesting.

Besides Pamela Morsi, I enjoy works by Lavyrle Spencer and Cheryl St. John. How about you? Who is your favorite Americana historical romance writer?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review: Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi

The news spread like brush fire through the whole county when widower Ancil Drayton announced his intention to start courting Miss Hattie Colfax. She was certainly spirited and delightfully sweet natured, and she'd managed to run her family farm almost single-handedly. But wasn't a twenty-nine-year-old lady farmer too old to catch a husband?

An Irresistable Suitor.

All his life handsome, black-haired Reed Tyler had worked Miss Hattie's farm--and dreamed of one day settling down on his own piece of land with the pretty young woman he'd sworn to marry. Hattie was someone he could tell his hopes and troubles to--someone he looked on as a sister. So he thought, until the idea of Ancil Drayton calling on her made him seethe. Until the night a brotherly peck became a scorching kiss... and Reed knew nothing would bank the blaze--and that his best friend was the only woman he would ever love.
Courting Miss Hattie is the second book by Pamela Morsi I read, and they're now both favorites and keepers. I loved Simple Jess, and this one is just as wonderful.

In Courting Miss Hattie, Morsi once again sets her story in an Arkansas farming community and captures both time and place. She tells the story of Miss Hattie, a 29-year-old spinster who has never been courted, until now. In Miss Hattie, Morsi again works with a character that is viewed as different by her community. She is respected, as an excellent farmer who owns her own land, is independent and knowledgeable and also happens to be an excellent housekeeper and cook. But Hattie is a woman, and as a woman in a community where girls marry at the tender age of seventeen, she's considered an old spinster and treated as such. The fact that Hattie's looks are lacking count heavily against her -- behind her back her nickname is "Horseface Hattie."

When local farmer and widower and father to a slew of children, Ancyl Drayton decides to come calling, you can feel both Hattie's pain and her hope for a future she thought she would never have -- a husband and children. I loved Miss Hattie. She is the perfect spinster/plain Jane type of protagonist that some of us love to read about in a book. Hattie isn't exactly your missish spinster, although she is definitely naive and has her moments. She is an independent woman who is direct and plain speaking and a tough and hard-working farmer. As a woman she is vulnerable, passionate and all heart. There is a joy in Hattie that makes her beautiful.

Reed Tyler? I could have eaten him up with a spoon. What a great character he turned out to be. He is younger than Miss Hattie, but he is a real man. Reed began working at the Colfax farm when he was a 14-year-old boy. After Hattie's parents died and left her the farm, Reed stayed to help her and became a sharecropper using Colfax land. Reed and Hattie are close friends and partners. His dream is to save his money to buy the Colfax farm from Hattie so he can settle down with his young wife once he marries. That is...until Ancyl begins courting Hattie.

Courting Miss Hattie is a wonderful friends to lovers romance. In a way, I hate to put it that way because it simplifies this story and it is more than that. The community at large, and Hattie herself, both see Ancyl's courting as a godsend and a favor to her -- all except Reed. He doesn't think Ancyl is good enough for her, as a man or as a farmer. I loved him for that. Reed begins to see Hattie as a woman and to seethe. Slowly, Ms. Morsi develops the story, and the sexual tension and romance between Hattie and Reed builds. And a passionate, joyful romance it is!

I have many favorite scenes in this book. The scene where Reed explains to Hattie that there are three different types of kisses: pecks, peaches and malvalvas, and Miss Hattie comes to love her "peaches," is a favorite. But, I think their overall joy and laughter in the midst of the discovery of their passion and love is what makes this romance stand out for me.

This review would be incomplete if I didn't mention a secondary romance that impacts Hattie and Reed's relationship. Morsi doesn't leave this romance behind in passion or in characterization; she takes her time with both. As in Simple Jess, she again develops a community that is vital and their down-to-earth, everyday interactions add depth to this story. The secondary characters are very much a part of Courting Miss Hattie and complete this romance.

This is another Morsi book I highly recommend for those who want to read a different type of historical romance in an American setting. In Courting Miss Hattie you’ll find a beautifully written, well-developed, passionate romance, with a friends to lovers theme, and an unforgettable secondary, lively cast of characters that has more to offer than your every day fare. This is definitely a keeper.

For other Morsi reviews, check out:
Courting Miss Hattie at Leslie's Psyche
Wild Oats at The Misadventures of Super Librarian

Genre: Historical Romance - American
Series: None
Release Date: August 26, 2009 - Kindle Edition
Grade: A

Visit Pamela Morsi here.

KMont's 2010 Year of the Historical Challenge - April Review

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Review: Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi

Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi was the first book I read by this author. My friend Reny sent it to me back in December and I read it then in one sitting -- she recommended it as her favorite Morsi book. As always, Reny was right on target with her recommendation, Simple Jess became one of my favorite historical romance reads of 2009. What a great book!

In March I read my second book by Ms. Morsi, Courting Miss Hattie and I loved it too! But, before I post my thoughts on that book, I wanted to share my thoughts on Simple Jess. I wrote this review in January and think it's about time I share it with you.

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...
Simple Jess is set in the Osark Mountains in 1906 and Ms. Morsi truly captures the setting. The cast of characters in this book is amazing and the story of Simple Jess and Ms. Althea is so touching it actually made me cry. But theirs is not the only story told in this book, there are secondary storylines about some of the people involved in Jess and Althea's lives that Ms. Morsi develops with much care. The farming community as a whole is so well integrated into Jess and Althea's lives and storyline that I found myself feeling as if I knew the people and the place. I could see them -- I really could.

Jess is a wonder of a character. He is hard working, gloriously handsome, honest and... simple-minded. He learned to work hard and to perform tasks by repeating and memorizing instructions. As a man, Jess has a few dreams of his own: he would like to have a gun and a team of dogs so he can hunt and provide for himself and he would like to have a woman. He knows he might be able to get the first two by working hard, but he figures the last will remain a dream. See... Jess is aware of his limitations and how the community views him and he has resigned himself to being "simple." Ms. Morsi definitely excelled in her creation of this wonderful character and more so in developing this romance. For those of you who have read this book, Jess won my heart at "sugar, coffee, cartridges."

Miss Althea is a widow with a child -- Baby-Paisley. She's had a tough life and is determined to continue on her own with her child. The community has interfered in her life and she must choose a husband between two beaus, Oather or Eben, to run the farm and to raise her child. I loved the way Ms. Morsi created Jess, but I loved the way Althea's character was developed in this story. We get to know Ms. Althea from the inside out, why and how she comes to love Jess. It is not easy for her to love a man like Jess or to make the decisions she must make. Morsi develops this part of the story and Miss Althea's character thoroughly and for me, that development is the key that makes this romance work.

Although this book has plenty of touching moments, I found myself laughing out loud at the amusing dialogue as I read along. But I must admit that Jess' sweet and naive thought process made me giggle more than once -- especially when it came to his sexual thoughts of Ms. Althea.
"Her hair hung down. It was real long. He hadn't known that. It hung down the front of her josie and kind of curled around those. . . those big round places that he tried not to think about. Her . . . her round places were really round. And they had points on the end of them. He could see the points through her josie." 
Simple Jess is a book I highly recommend to those who would like to read a different type of historical romance. This book is beautifully written, heart warming, with unforgettable central and secondary characters, plus the interwoven storylines make the community come alive without taking the focus away from the central characters. Simple Jess was a winner for me. Will I read the rest of Morsi's backlist? You bet!

Genre: Historical Romance - American
Series: None -- linked to The Marrying Stone
Release Date: April 1, 1996
Grade: A

Visit Pamela Morsi here.