The Woman Who Loved Jesse James by Cindi MyersHistorical Fiction
I originally got this book because I have always been fascinated by the story of Jesse James and that lawless time period in history. My fascination wasn't a morbid one--I don't relish reading about the men he killed or banks he robbed. Rather, I'm fascinated by a time period when such things were not only possible, but probable to men who perhaps saw no other way to live.
The character of Zee Mimms has always been interesting to me and I hoped to learn more about this "first family" of crime. Unfortunately, I don't feel I have any better idea of who this woman was than before I started reading the book. Granted, this was fiction, not a true story and little exists that might have told her motivations for waiting so long to marry Jesse and why in the world she would have chosen the life she did. Still, I felt very disconnected from the main character. She didn't seem to understand her motivations any better than I did. I have a problem with characters who just can't help themselves, characters who seem powerless to react in their own lives. Since she understood herself so little, there was no way for me to understand her at all.
If you've never read a book about Jesse James before, this would be a good, soft place to start. Most of the factual accounts you could probably read online, though. My review perhaps lead you to believe it's a bad book. It isn't--it stay solidly mired in the "just okay" category throughout.