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Simple Jess (Marrying Stone #2)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,926 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
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
Mass Market Paperback, 325 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Jove
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***5 stars***

There are books that you read yesterday and you can forget today. Others you read and can never forget. Like Simple Jess.

Widow Althea Winsloe has no desire to remarry. But it's difficult to run her farm, look after her son and cope with the heavier physical demands of getting firewood and meat for the winter. Jesse Best has three goals in life, a gun, a dog and a woman. When Jess hears that Althea wants to sell her late husband's hunting dogs, he approaches her to buy a dog. But Al
Widow Althea Winsloe just wants to be left alone to raise her young son as she sees fit. Unfortunately for her, the men and women of her tight-knit village in the Ozarks are determined to see her remarried, and soon. Determined to remain in control, she plans to sell her husband's well-respected pack of hunting hounds. No one's going to just marry her and take what's hers, she's saving everything on the farm for her son to inherit one day.

In the general store when Miss Althea discloses her plan
Aug 17, 2012 Ana rated it it was amazing
An amazingly touching book!

Althea Winsloe has no intention of remarrying, ever! After all, she has what she needs - her husband's farm to pass onto her beloved son when the time comes. However, the denizens of Marrying Stone don't agree. It seems like every single person in the small mountain town is eager to see her wed, preferably to the man of their choice.
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Arkansas mountains

True, she does need help with the farm, but it is easy enough to simply hire a man to take care of thing
Tammy Walton Grant
Question: If a heroine was raised in the Ozarks by her kin, in a teeny tiny town perched on the side of a mountain, where no one came in from away, and no one left, folks jumped over a rock to celebrate a weddin', they say words like "caint" and are so intermarried they caint right remember what clan they started out from, and the clans decide that the widder Althea caint rightly keep her hunting dogs and her farm to herself so they hold a kangaroo court to decide who she should marry, if you ar ...more
Aug 17, 2012 Saly rated it it was amazing
Loved the book and Jess!The heroine was a widow with an interfering mother in law and a son and a neglected farm. Jess has always wanted three things, dogs, a gun and a woman so when he hears the heroine is selling her dogs, he wants them and they start the an arrangement, he would work for her to earn them. I loved Jess, when he was born the cord wrapped around him causing some damage but Jess was just so amazing and I loved reading the way his mind operated. The heroine just wanted to live a l ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Simple Jess is a simple love story. People tend to think of simple things as unworthy. Not the case at all. In a world where everything is complicated, murky, and it's hard to tell what is real and what isn't, the simple gets taken for granted. Kind of like Jesse Best.

Merriam-Webster lists these definitions of Simple, which I will hide in a spoiler if you don't care to read them...(view spoiler)
Jane Stewart
4 stars. I didn’t want to stop reading. I loved the way it made me feel at the end.

Takes place in a rural mountain community in Arkansas in 1906. Althea’s husband died two years ago. She has a three-year-old boy. Her husband had the richest farm land in the area. Althea does not want to marry again. She wants to save the land for her son when he grows up. There are two family clans in the area, the Piggets and the McNees. Both sides want their eligible bachelor to marry Althea to ge
A fancy sash buckle with a rose-colored finish caught Jesse's eye. "What kind of animal is this?" he asked the drummer.

"It's a dragon."

Jesse's brow furrowed. "We don't have any 'round here like this one," he said.

"It's a mythical beast," the drummer explained with a little chuckle.

Jesse nodded solemnly. "Don't know the place. And I don't expect Miss Althea's ever been to Mythica either."

I would have given this book a lower rating, but I don't think a great character such as Jesse deserved anythi
Booklover, Indianapolis
(Jan) I have mixed feelings about this book. Part of me absolutely loved it - loved Jesse (and his family), liked Althea, loved Oather. If the story had been about these people this would have been close to a 5* read for me. Jess might have been "simple" in his mind, in his thought process, but he was not stupid, nor was he a saint - he was a strong man who wanted a dog, a gun and a woman. He was truly a delight. However, I can't recall the last time when I hated so many characters in a book. I ...more
Rachel Regina
Jan 17, 2015 Rachel Regina rated it really liked it
My rating: 4 stars!

Cheating: (view spoiler)
Love triangle: (view spoiler)
Sex with om/ow: (view spoiler)

HEA: (view spoiler)

My review:

This is such a cute and sweet romance! There is really very little drama and it's extremely low angst.

The blurb does not really explain the book properly, IMO. I expected to have a book about Althea marrying a man named Simple Jesse because she is forc
Apr 24, 2016 BookLover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, kobo, historical, rs
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Marrying Stone (Marrying Stone, #1) by Pamela Morsi. But as much as I loved reading about Meggie and Roe, Jess really stole the show for me. I couldn’t wait to get to his story. Simple Jess was a beautiful and sweet story.

Simple Jess takes place a few years after the first story. Miss Althea, a minor character from the first book, is now a widow and single mom. The community is trying to get her to remarry. While this story focused a lot on Jess, this was really Althea’s story. I enjoyed the
Jennifer Leighton
Beautiful story. I wish the love scene would have been longer/more descriptive, but Jesse was just the sweetest, kindest, most loyal man a girl could ever ask for, so he made up for the lack of heat. 5 stars.
Ally  Georgie
Mar 24, 2016 Ally Georgie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple becomes stunningly attractive

Well hell, romance is fantasy, right? Then again, who knows what happens up on them thar Ozark mountains? And what the hell are possum-grape dumplings? And what does a josie look like? I have so many questions.

What an awesome read. I feel in love with all of the characters even that awful, no good terrible Eban (where my people come from, we say Evan, just sayin'). The world building, if we can call it that, is flat out pure brilliant. I totally got a feel fo
Well, this was certainly an original romance plot. When I read about the hero’s mental limitations, I had real doubts about how the author was going to pull it off, but it turned out not only believable, but the few scenes were emotional and their love story very sweet.
GENRE/TONE: historical/drama
LENGTH: 276 pages
Mimi Smith
Jul 17, 2014 Mimi Smith rated it it was amazing
5 stars

The summary

Truly, well-meaning neighbors can be a pest. Althea appreciates their concern but she doesn't intend to follow anyone's advice on how to live her life after the death of her husband. She plans to take care of her farm and her boy, and everything else can go to hell. But when the citizens of Marrying Stone make an ultimatum She picks a husband so, or they'll do it for her, she will have some hard choices ahead.

Simple Jess is, as his name says, simple. But that doesn't make him
Mar 19, 2011 Denise rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loved The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
This is my first read from this author and it certainly will not be my last! I found out this book follows Marrying Stone after I was more than half way through. It did not matter at all, thankfully the author manages to keep out all the back-story of the previous book so Simple Jess can be read as a stand alone.
Althea is a young widow with a small son. Her mother-in-law and the "Granny" of the mountain community are pressuring her to re-marry. She has a farm that is envied and 4 of the best
The plot of this novel gave me vibes from Colleen McCullough's Tim, which also has the same love story between a young man with mental disability and an older woman who falls for him whilst he performs manual labour for her. But unlike the Australian's book, I wasn't drawn in by the characters in the least.

Jess was hard to warm up to despite the author's too obvious attempts at making him sympathetic and lovable, because her characterisation falls within the cliché view that developmentally-cha
Katrina Passick Lumsden
This is such a sweet story. I had my reservations, thinking certain aspects might get kind of creepy, but Jesse's "simplicity" is really not as big a deal as certain people make it out to be. He's just a little slower than most due to mild brain damage. He knows right from wrong, he clearly has his own thoughts and feelings, he's able to love and protect others. In many ways that become glaringly evident throughout the book, he's smarter than most everyone else around him. Including Althea. Inde ...more
Kathie (katmom)
Mar 03, 2015 Kathie (katmom) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books-ever
This was a sweet book with a Hero that has NO experience whatsoever.

Jesse is "simple" having been born with a cord around his neck. He is a big man, a sweet man, a hardworking man...a man that find joy in the little things.

Things like the SMELL of women. He likes to stand next to them at church or the once a month Literary Meetings. Women just smell so darn good.

Althea is a widow with a young boy and the best corn bottom land around. The village decides she HAS to get married, or they will choos
Mar 15, 2015 Anja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c, w-az
I can see why this book earned five stars. Well, not really, but I can see why parts of the book resonated so much that it earned five stars. Lacking in historical wallpaper, the town, the people, the dialogue, and the situations all felt genuine (though I could’ve used fewer details about how to kill and dress animals). Jesse is a wonderful hero and it was nice to see Althea’s change toward him and appreciation for who he was grow. I didn’t like that she never stood up for him when even her thr ...more
May 25, 2016 Widala rated it really liked it
I definitely enjoyed this story. Jesse was sweet and I like Althea's growing affection towards him.
But I must say it's lacking in characterization. First of all, the main characters from Marrying Stone (Roe, Meggie and Onery) didn't show up enough. Because I read these books back to back, the connection between Jesse and the three characters that are really important in his live still feel very strong, and although there's four years gap between the books, they all still live together. So, yes I
Beautifully written heart wrenching story!! Complex, believable and lovable chatacers. Interesting unique plot, with no lulls (I read this in one day non-stop).

This is a sweet romance that takes place in the early 1900 in the mountains in Arkansas (?) The story centers around Althea a widow who is pressured and inevitably forced to remarry. The plot sounds hokey when summarized but it is anything but. Without retelling the story I found that what I really liked is the powerful underlying message
.þµŋψà. [Punya Reviews...]
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2012 Cecilia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know how to grade this book, but I think it's mainly because of my own life experience, more than the book itself. For one thing, I have a brother who is mentally handicapped - a tall, handsome man who tries hard every day of his life to do the proper thing, who doesn't understand a lot of what's going on around him, and who gets taken advantage of (not to mention periodically mugged). Simple Jess reminded me a lot of my brother. Though Jess is somewhat higher functioning, the way ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Aww. I saw this constantly listed as a favorite by GR friends, and between the high expectations and the premise - I was never moved to read it. But once I got through the ornery first chapter, it was great fun, and quite sweetly sentimental at the end there - not just for the Althea and Jess but for the secondary characters as well.

I am also a huge sucker for Laura Ingalls Wilder style food prep shenanigans - the curing of deer meat and hog slaughtering still fascinates, apparently.
Joy (Cheery♡Reads)
Such a precious gem of a story. The characters - both main and secondary - had such rich backgrounds and were fascinating.

Jesse and Baby Paisley were definitely the stars in the story. Simple Jess is worth more than 5 stars!
Miranda Davis
Apr 29, 2013 Miranda Davis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: romantics - don't let the premise scare you off
Recommended to Miranda by: Jill
WONDERFUL. Ten stars. Possibly eleven.

Do you know stories that you think you should like because everyone else does and raves about it but then you read it and go...Eh, what's all the fuss about? Well Simple Jess is that story for me. Maybe the problem is that I should have read this when it was originally rec'd to me...about ten years ago because now it just feels quaint and dated.

Althea is a widow that does not want to remarry but she's sitting on prime land so her in-laws are demanding she remarry (preferably within the family so
♥  Sam ♥ ~S2~Im made of awesomness
The following review may be heavily laced with sarcasm. Please just oblige me.

Althea Winsloe, a widowed mother living in the Ozarks enclave of Marrying Stone Mountain is under siege. Her husband Paisley (sadly, we never get to meet his siblings Plaid, Polka Dot, and Argyle) has been gone for a few years now. Now both her meddling mother-in-law and town elder Granny Piggot are insisting that she marry. Every rootin’ tootin’ bachelor in town has his mind set on courting her, mostly to get their gr
Apr 20, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
This book is a keeper and repeater. Have read it oodles of times. Set in the Ozark Mountains in 1906 in a small community called Marrying Stone, local busybodies try to force the widow Althea to choose a husband, either Eben Baxley or Oather Phillips, giving her three weeks to decide, until Christmas.

But the stubborn widow comes up with Bachelor C, because she wants to maintain control of the farm, so her three-year-old son can inherit it. She knows Bachelors A and B will run roughshod over her
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Pamela Morsi is a USA Today, Waldenbooks, and Barnes & Noble bestselling author of romance. She broke into publishing in 1991 with Heaven Sent and has been gracing readers with at least a book a year ever since. Two of her novels, Courting Miss Hattie (1992) and Something Shady (1996), won the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award, the highest honor in romance publishing, and others have bee ...more
More about Pamela Morsi...

Other Books in the Series

Marrying Stone (3 books)
  • Marrying Stone (Marrying Stone, #1)
  • The Lovesick Cure

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“He pulled her close and kissed her. Happiness and joy settled around them like a warm cloak. And gentleness spurred passion. His kiss deepened and a soft, low moan eased out of his throat.
He wiggled on the bed beneath her, letting her feel the resurgence of his passion inside her.
"I'm ready to do it again," he said plainly.
"You can't do it twice," she answered, giggling.
"Why not?"
"You just can't," Althea told him. "Men do it one time and then they rest up for a day or two."
"I think I'm rested up enough," he told her.
"Jesse, I know what I'm talking about," she said with confidence. "I was married for over two years. And I know all about it. You can't be ready to do it again."
He proved her wrong.”
“Miss Althea?"
"I don't blame you, Jesse," she said at last, taking control of her whirling emotions. "I must have…I must have led you astray somehow. But you must never touch me again."
Jesse's disappointment was palpable. "Never?" That seemed impossible. To be
allowed to know how wonderful it was to feel and smell and taste her and then to
never be allowed that again. It was so unfair. Jesse wanted to cry. It was too unfair.”
More quotes…