This is my first Pamela Morsi book and I bought it because of the reviews of other readers. Let me just say that they did a great job reviewing this book; so basically, I'm not going to say too much more.
Esme (short for Esmerelda) Crabb is the practical one in her family. Her beautiful twin sisters are man-crazy flirts and her dad is kind-hearted but the laziest man in the county. Unfortunately, everyone in town knows this and they also know that Esme is the only hard worker of the bunch, so she gets a double-heap of pity (one for being a Crabb, the other for having supporting her Pa and sisters alone). Thing is, Esme is tired of nearly starving in their mountain cave during the winter and realizes that, unless she wants to work herself into an early grave as her mother did, she has to marry and marry well. She sets her sights on Cleavis Rhy, the town storekeeper, because he has a big, fine white house that only he and his mother live in. She decides that is perfect for her family and she will marry him.
Esme's not a beauty, nor is she educated or "genteel", being brought up in the "hills," so she has to use her brains to snare Cleavis's attention. Since he was educated in the city and is a real "gentleman" she assumes that she will have to be practical and highlight her best attributes (hard-working, willing to sacrifice, willing to be a helpmeet, etc) in order to catch him. So she simply walks up to him and says, "You wanna marry me?" This is the beginning of the most hilarious love story I've read in a long time. Esme follows him, worms her way into his life and starts driving him insane and ruining his reputation by working in his store and flashing her legs at him! Did I mention and Cleavis was supposed to be courting the minister's daughter???
This book was fun and funny! I really enjoyed watching practical Esme lose all common sense when trying to catch a man. I also thought it was realistic when she started feeling as if she wasn't good enough for Cleavis and wondering how to be the lady that she thought he needed. But Esme is blunt, honest and funny and I loved her. It was interesting to watch Cleavis open up to her and start talking about memories that transformed him from a smalltown hillboy to the prissy talking, snob that he was a the beginning of the novel.
There are no bad guys in GARTERS because Morsi has a gift of portraying real people, all their foibles and prejudices intact. Other reviewers weren't that pleased with Cleavis's Mom and Armon Hightower (the guy dating Esme's twin sisters), but I could see them as real people. Overall, I give this book five stars because it deserves five stars. It was written in 1992, so unlike most of the novels that have come out recently, the book isn't merely sex scenes for the second half. There is steam and heat, but also true plot and resolution. I highly recommend this book.