Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review: Courting Miss Hattie

Title: Courting Miss Hattie
Author: Pamela Morsi
Genre: Historical Romance/Arkansas (approximately 1910)
Published: October 1991
Source: Purchased

Nath's Re-Read Challenge 2009

From the back cover ~

They's Shared A Lifetime Of Friendship...
But It Took Only One Kiss To Spark A Wildfire Of Passion In An Unlikely Bride.

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 Irresistible 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.

Pamela Morsi is one of those authors that I choose when I want something different. Different hero, different heroine, different feel. What I get when I read her is a different story but still a comforting, welcoming story. A story that pulls me in a makes me feel like I know these people, like they're just as real as my neighbors down the street. The first time I read Courting Miss Hattie was years ago, along with Morsi's Simple Jess and I remember feeling drawn to these characters the same way I was again drawn to Hattie and Reed along with their families and friends.

I loved Hattie! She was so much fun to read. You can't help but like her and her common sense approach to life. She has this innate ability to get to the heart of things, so that you know what she's thinking. It doesn't occur to her to be dishonest. In a way she has led a sheltered life even though she has shouldered a huge amount of responsibility for a very long time. Hattie longs for a husband and family but that doesn't stop her from enjoying her life on her farm. It's one of the thing that I loved about her. She's not one to feel sorry for herself, she has her moments of sadness but doesn't wallow in them. That's not to say she was perfect. She had this tendency to sell herself short, to buy into what the townsfolk thought of her. That she was destined to be alone, a spinster that everyone liked but no man wanted to marry. That's when I wish someone would have given her a swift kick in the rear! LOL

Reed Tyler is hmm... he's a product of his environment, having believed what everyone else seemed to believe, that Miss Hattie was a nice lady but a spinster and not one to be considered for marriage. He never really saw Hattie as anything other than a friend and business partner. He was her friend and sharecropper. They had known each other forever but only knew a small side of each other. The public side that everyone else saw. In a way Reed reminded me of a little boy. They have no interest in a certain toy until another child starts playing with it. Then they suddenly realize what a fun toy it is and how much they want it, decide that, "hey, that's mine" and don't want to share. That was Reed with Hattie. Once Ancil Drayton starts courting Miss Hattie the blinders came off and Reed realized that he didn't want anyone to have Hattie but him.

There are certain parts of this book that I'm sure readers will remember fondly long after they close the book. One was the way Reed teaches Hattie the three different kisses - pecks, peaches and malvalvas. Keep in mind he's teaching her how to kiss another man, which doesn't dawn on him at first. At first he gets caught up in the teaching, typical man, then when he realizes what he's done, he tries to backtrack and convince Hattie that she should stick to giving Ancil only pecks. Hattie, being Hattie, doesn't like that and says "Why would you peck when you can peach!"

The fact that Hattie(29) is older than Reed(24) by five years didn't factor in much for me. He started working at the farm when he was eight years old, so they've grown up together, they're comfortable with each other. Reed grew up in a loving family and with responsibility for himself at an early age so you could say he's more mature than his age. Hattie, inexperienced in the ways of men and women, still has the practical experience of farm life. So while she's older than Reed, he's more experienced in sex, so it kind of balances out. At least that's my logic and like I said, their ages didn't really factor in for me. :)

It takes Reed a long time to finally be the one courting Miss Hattie. There are obstacles to overcome and responsibilities to be met and Reed is an honorable, responsible man. I was so happy when they could finally be together and once Hattie let her hair down, both figuratively and literally, she led Reed on such a wild ride. Her joy for life followed into her love for Reed.

Another wonderful re-read! If you haven't tried Ms. Morsi, give her a try. She has this ease of writing that allows the reader to just slide into the story, the town and the characters' lives. The secondary characters are well written, interesting without taking the focus off Hattie and Reed. The plot and characters always come back to Hattie and Reed. Morsi also creates a distinct setting by adding in the flavor of the time period and location with colorful sayings and the attitudes of the time.

Pamela Morsi is still writing but I haven't read any of her most recent releases, I'll have to look into changing that. Her books and author info can be found on her website. (Warning: music comes on when site loads)

Rating: A+


  1. Leslie, this sounds like such a wonderful book. It's so funny that you should be reading Morsi, my book sharing buddy sent me (it's on its way to me) Simple Jess by Morsi and I can't wait to read it. I think she said some others were included too, but Simple Jess is the one she rated her #1. Now I'm hoping she included this one too. :)

  2. Hilcia: Simple Jess is also really good.

    Leslie: Great review and great re-read! I so love this book. It's just fantastic.

  3. Hils ~ IMO it's a classic. Oh, Simple Jess is very good too. Different - I think that's a Morsi trademark. :)

    Wendy ~ Thanks! So glad I picked CMH. It's one of those books that makes you feel so good when you're done.

  4. Lovely review, Leslie.

    This book sounds so familiar, and now seeing Wendy's comments, I'm wondering if I saw it at her place a while back.

    I love the premise of the story (older woman/younger man and friends to lovers), and will be adding this to my ubs shopping list!

  5. Thanks Renee!

    Definitely put it on your list. :)

  6. This sounds so good. Yet another star goes on a post in my GReader. Sigh. So many books!

    Yet another month I missed the deadline for the reread. Darn it all. I may still post my review, though.

  7. Lori, what did you reread? You should post the review, even late.

  8. Ames had recently read this book and I was able to find it at the library :D

    Seems like I really need to get on this book soon! :)

    What do you think of Ms Morsi's contemporaries?

  9. nath ~ yeah! You got it. I think you’ll enjoy it. I haven’t read any of her contemps but plan on trying them.

  10. Wow, I love that he's teaching her to kiss another man. I love that this is a go-to for a different kind of h/h and story...This needs to go on my list. Plus, the time period is unusual. Thanks for the reread!

  11. CJ ~ the peck and peaches scenes were wonderful. The peaches "theme" continued through the book. Very much cute and sexy at the same time. :)

  12. Guess what? I read it!! It was a cute story :D