by Pamela Morsi

August 1992
ISBN: 0-515-10895-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Esme Crabb has a lazy father and two beautiful but silly twin sisters. As the responsible one, she’s stuck with taking care of her family the best she can. However, living in a cave up in the mountains, trying to scavenge for food and her father relying on the charity of others, Esme is fed up with being poor… and pitiful. So what can an uneducated hillbilly girl living in a small town do? The only thing that comes to mind is marrying a fairly well off husband… and Esme found the perfect man in the storekeeper, Cleavis Rhy.

Esme is absolutely guileless and does not have a clue on how to go about seducing Cleavis… until she accidentally notices him staring at her when she unconsciously lifted her skirts to tug at her drooping stockings. From then on, Esme had the idea that all she had to do to attract Cleavis was to lift her skirts, which she proceeded to do. Of course, she had to be in his company in order to do that, so she set upon following him and helping him around the store everyday – until she figured Cleavis would break down and propose to her.

Cleavis, however, had something else in mind. Having been educated in a big city, Cleavis has ideas of who and how he should get married. Then there’s his interest in breeding fish… no one quite understood it, and no one ever pretended to be interested in it, except for Esme. So, for a while, he let Esme follow him around the store, even to the pond to feed his fish, but when she followed him home, Cleavis had had enough! The locals were starting to talk of Esme’s interest in Cleavis, which was ruining his reputation and his courting of the local gentry miss. In no uncertain terms, Cleavis tells Esme to leave him be – but Esme stubbornly refuses. It wasn’t only that she needed him as a husband, but she’s finding that she only wants him as a life partner.

From one situation to the next, Cleavis finds himself married to Esme. Although he finds the thought of being married to a hillbilly loathsome at first, he finds himself seduced by Esme’s innocence and laughter and determination… not to mention her nice looking legs!

Pamela Morsi crafts a tale that is authentic – one can ‘see’ the social differences between Esme and Cleavis, and a reader might wonder if the relationship will work. As with all romance novels, this too has a happy ending… and a very satisfying one at that. Esme grows into a sensitive and perceptive young wife who loves her husband thoroughly and Cleavis comes to fully appreciate what Esme has to offer as a person and wife. Though Ms. Morsi makes Cleavis and Esme different as night and day, the resolution of their differences makes for a heartwarming ending.

Garters is a very well-written story that is engaging and fun… a highly recommended read!

Reviewed in February 2002 by Veronica.

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