This heartwarming spin-off from Ms. Morsi's Marrying Stone reintroduces readers to Jess, the simple but kind and gentle young man who steals readers' hearts from the moment he enters the story.

Jess knows he's not as smart as most men and that he's not quick to learn, but his tenderness with people and animals, his joy in life and his capacity to love are far greater than that of the average mountain man.

Widow Althea Winsloe has no desire to marry again; all she wants is to live her life in peace. But her in-laws and busy-body neighbors are determined to see her wed by Christmas. They give Althea an ultimatum-find her own man or they will find one for her.

There are several eligible men who would gladly marry the attractive widow, but only one who truly understands how she feels; only one sweet enough to wear away her determination and only one who truly understands her heart's desire, but it might take more than luck or love for Althea and Jess to find happiness.

SIMPLE JESS will tug at your heartstrings like the movie "Forrest Gump" pulled on your emotions. Jess' innocence embodies the beauty and purity that cannot be tarnished or corrupted. His sensitivity allows him to distill the complexities of life down to the basic human level of goodness. This is a wonderfully warm and special read that will make you believe in miracles and happily-ever-after. SWEET (Apr., 388 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin