I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Zee Mimms grew up in the Missouri countryside. She is an obedient and helpful daughter to her parents who run a boarding house, dutiful in every way except allowing her parents to arrange a marriage for her. During the Civil War, Missouri was split between neighbors, Confederate and Union sympathizers were neighbors and friends. Zee's family, the James' felt deeply for the Confederate cause and her cousins, Jesse and Frank fought bravely for what they believed in. After the war, Jesse was badly wounded and a wanted man. He made it to the Mimm's where Zee took charge of his care. Over the course of Jesse's healing, Jesee and Zee fell in love. However, the life Jesse leads is not what Zee's parents want for her. Jesee is still fighting battles from the war, always on the run and living the life of an outlaw. Zee decides that love is worth the risk and steals away with Jesse for a life on the run.
Jesse James is a name that everyone knows, a handsome and cunning outlaw who continued to fight for his Confederate beliefs well after the war was over. However, not much is known about his wife, Zerelda. Told from Zerelda's point of view, I Am Mrs. Jesse James imagines the life that the wife of an outlaw would have lived. Taking the few little known facts about Zee Mimm's life, Pat Wahler weaves a story of immense love, trust, danger and concealment that became Zee's adult life. Zee was a very relatable character compared to her headstrong, fugitive husband. I was very surprised that Jesee James married a first cousin, although their love must have been strong in order to endure all the trials that they went through. Zee's life was a series of moves and living under different names, isolated in many cases since she was not allowed to get to know neighbors. I was even more astonished to know that Zee probably didn't know exactly what her husband was up to until later in her life. I felt strongly for Zee and Jesse's children, born into a world of peril and constant movement, unable to make friends of even use their real names. Even with all of this, Zee's love for Jesse kept her strong and unwavering. Overall, an informative and powerful story of the life of the woman behind the man who was Jesse James.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.