Bell Bridge Books (January 27, 2012)
“I never meant to fall in love with Jesse James, but I might as well have tried to stop a tornado or a prairie fire. The summer that sealed our fate, when we saw each other with new eyes and our love began to grow, Jesse was all heat and light, and I was tinder waiting for a match.”
Zee Mimms was just nineteen in 1864-the daughter of a stern Methodist minister in Missouri when she fell in love with the handsome, dashing, and already notorious Jesse. He was barely more than a teenager himself, yet had ridden with William Quantrill’s raiders during the Civil War. “You’ll marry a handsome young man,” a palm reader had told her. “A man who will make you the envy of many. But . . . there will be hard times.” Zee and Jesse’s marriage proved the palmist right. Jesse was a dangerous puzzle: a loving husband and father who kept his “work” separate from his family, though Zee heard the lurid rumors of his career as a bank robber and worse. Still, she never gave up on him. And he earned her love, time and again.
Cindi Myers is the author of more than forty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her work has been praised for its depth of emotion and realistic characters. You can learn more about her and her work at www.CindiMyers.com or www.RomanceoftheWest.com
Southern U.S. mid-1800’s
Heat Rating 2/3
REVIEW RATING 3.5
REVIEWED by: Genevieve Graham
Jesse James. Just his name sends a thrill down this reviewer’s spine, a promise of adventure and rebellion, the story of a man against his oppressors, the “modern day” Robin Hood. How could I resist?
Ms Myers has done her research. She captured not only the restless legend’s exploits, but his attitude and his relationships with friends and family, as well as his obsession with gambling, horses, and the spotlight. Since the story is written from his wife, Zee’s, perception, we also see the deeper, more loving side of Jesse, the side he hid from his critics and fans, the side he couldn’t afford to reveal as he robbed and killed so many men.
I learned a great deal while reading the book, and was fascinated by the details. These were expertly and seamlessly woven into the story, never taking away from the strength of the writing or the flow, which is always so important when writing, since—as Zee James says: We see so much of life through a lens ground by others.
Despite the expert level of writing and research, I can’t say the book captured me. I understand Zee’s unshakable love in her husband and Jesse’s addition to adrenaline. I understand that even though she knew what he was doing was wrong, Zee would die to support him in whatever he chose to do. What I didn’t experience was her actual emotional attachment. Sure, she talked about feeling terrified, sad, lonely, but I was disappointed that I didn’t experience it through her. As a result, I wasn’t emotionally attached to any of the characters. I didn’t get sweaty palms where I should have, and I never cried or laughed. When the inevitable ending arrived, it was sudden and over far too quickly. I waited to feel more, but I didn’t.
Overall a good, comprehensive kind of historical, but it lacked in emotional punch, in my humble opinion.
Genevieve Graham was inspired to try her hand at writing by the work of the legendary Diana Gabaldon. Genevieve’s first two novels, “Under the Same Sky” and “Sound of
the Heart” were published by Berkley Sensation/Penguin US in 2012 and have met with enthusiastic reviews. The third in the series, “Out of the Shadows” will be published by Berkley in 2013. Her books are what she calls “Historical Fiction” rather than “Historical Romance,” meaning she concentrates on the stories and adventures, and she doesn’t turn away from the ugly truths of the times. Romance binds her stories together, but it is not the primary focus. Genevieve also runs her own Editing business and has helped dozens of authors with their novels.