A fascinating story about Jesse James' wife!
The Back Cover:
"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.
I’m always a big fan of biographical novels, so when I learned about The Woman Who Loved Jesse James, I was eager to read it. It pleases me to let you know that it certainly didn’t disappoint. The novel is about Zerelda (Zee) Mimms James, a distant cousin of Jesse James who ultimately married the legendary outlaw.
As a person who has worked in law enforcement, I often wonder about the “bad guys” and the impact of their actions on their families. How can a woman love a robber and murderer? Well, in this novel, Cindi Myers has given us a peak into the private relationship between Zerelda and Jesse. Although I came to see why Zee loved him, why she ran with him from home to home, town to town, state to state, and lived under assumed names, keeping all his secrets, I still couldn’t quite accept the fact she embraced his lifestyle and often turned a blind eye to his disappearances and crimes. If the truth be told, I doubt no one other than Zee or Jesse will ever understand themselves and their love for each other. Their loving bond is likely the only answer. This unanswered question is what endeared me to the novel, and kept me reading it long into the night.
Zee and their children
First and foremost, Jesse was charismatic and showy and definitely handsome. He lived life to its fullest, taking advantage of every opportunity that came his way. Yes, along the way he murdered and robbed. Despite this, Zee completely and utterly loved him. Why? Well, for one thing, he loved his wife and children. He sheltered and protected them. His mother, also named Zerelda, took great pride in the antics of her sons, Frank and Jesse.
Zerelda Samuel James
(Jesse and Frank's Mother)
The author did a marvellous job of writing Zee’s story with neutrality and in a non-judgemental way. It is not up to the reader to judge, merely to read about and try to understand one woman’s enduring love for her husband despite his many faults.
After reading this novel, I became more interested in Zee and Jesse’s story, so did a bit of internet research to satisfy my curiosity. I found Cindi Myers did an exceptional job in relaying the historical facts and details. Her research is accurate and detailed, which built my trust in this author, enough to seek out more of her work.
This novel is beautifully written, accurate, and brings to life a lesser known woman of history. Well worth reading, poignant, tragic, and very enjoyable. Highly recommended.
The story left me wanting to learn more about Jesse James and his fascinating life and Zee's role in supporting her notorious husband. Here are a few videos to spark your interest too.