“The Widows kept me on the edge of my seat. Montgomery is a masterful storyteller.” Lee Martin, author of Pulitzer Prize-Finalist The Bright Forever
Kinship, Ohio, 1924: When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel Ross, the town’s widely respected sheriff, is killed while transporting a prisoner, she is devastated and vows to avenge his death.
Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died, and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter.
From miles away but worlds apart, Lily and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was not the man that either of them believed him to beand that his murder is far more complex than either of them could have imagined.
Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community.
"The Widows is a gripping, beautifully written novel about two women avenging the murder of the man they both loved."Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of You'll Never Know, Dear
"Jess Montgomery's gorgeous writing can be just as dark and terrifying as a subterranean cave when the candle is snuffed out, but her prose can just as easily lead you to the surface for a gasp of air and a glimpse of blinding, beautiful sunlight. This is a powerful novel: a tale of loss, greed, and violence, and the story of two powerful women who refuse to stand down."Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy
"[A] flinty, heartfelt mystery that sings of hawks and history, of coal mines and the urgent fight for social justice."Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bone on Bone
|Publisher:||Gale, A Cengage Company|
|Edition description:||Large Print|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)|
About the Author
JESS MONTGOMERY is the Literary Life columnist for the Dayton Daily News and Executive Director of the renowned Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Based on early chapters of The Widows, Jess was awarded an Ohio Arts Council individual artist’s grant for literary arts and the John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House in Columbus. She lives in her native state of Ohio.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jess Montgomery has just released her debut novel, The Widows, the first book in her Kinship series. 1924. The Appalachian hills of Ohio - coal mining territory. Sheriff Daniel Ross is killed in the line of duty. By whom is not known. His wife Lily is approached to stand in as Sheriff until an election can be held. Marvena Whitcomb is a coal miner's widow and also has a connection with Daniel. It is only upon his death that they both realize Daniel was keeping secrets. There's much, much more to this story. The lead characters were so wonderfully portrayed and I was immediately drawn to both of them. Montgomery has taken inspiration for her characters from history. Maude Collins was the first female Sheriff in Ohio. Mary Harris Joneswas the 'most famous female labor activist of the nineteenth century'. Montgomery's depictions of the land, the times, the people and the issues are rich and full, providing a vivid backdrop for a multi layered tale. Who killed Daniel? Coal miners trying to unionize, the mining company trying to stop that at every turn. Will the two women work together? For their own purposes or for the good of the community? The Widows was a great read on so many levels - mystery, history, relationships and strong women. I'll be curious to see where Montgomery takes the next book.
Favorite Quote: Mama’s round face is so puckered with outrage that her mouth looks like the top of a drawstring purse. My Review: I am in awe of this author, this is her first novel and it was simply stellar! The storytelling was commanding, cunningly crafted, enthralling, emotive, highly descriptive, and smartly nuanced. I was instantly sucked into her vortex and heard a multitude of sounds, accents, and dialects in my head. I was right there with them, riding in their cars, feeling the dynamite blasts as well as their deep sorrows, and smelling their sweat and fear. The mystery was hopelessly intriguing and appeared an impossibly tangled knot that I feared was without hope for a solution. I was so deeply engrossed in their tale I experienced the conflict of simultaneous relief and grief upon completion. Jess Montgomery’s word voodoo packs a powerful punch and is dangerously hypnotic.
Story told by two different women, the chapters alternate from the two perspectives. The two don't know much about each other, but both loved the same man, and he was different with each woman. Personally I was glad to have it spelled out just what the relationship with each was. The beginning of the book introduces us to many different characters, a little confusing but clears up quickly as you get into the rhythm of the story. Lots of history from the late 1920s about coal mines, miners and union organizers. It's easy to picture the story, the author's descriptions flow easily and don't interfere in the telling. Good murder mystery, very strong women, great history lesson in a fictional town.
A gritty, uncompromising and emotional look at the Ohio coal mining industry during the 1920s, and the efforts to unionize the miners. The story centers around 2 women and one man...the sheriff, and what happens after his murder. Lily was Daniel's wife, she is determined to find out who killed him. After his death she is appointed sheriff. She doesn't know about Marvena until she shows up in town after his death. Daniel had promised to find out what happened to her daughter who's disappeared. Marvena is also trying to organize the miners to join the union. They need better, safer conditions, better pay and she wants to keep children from having to work in the mines. They must learn to trust each other in order to accomplish what needs to be done. I loved Lily and Marvena...both are strong but weary women fighting for their families and friends.
I've been thinking about how to best write about this book by first time author Jess Montgomery. First time author! Wow, Ms. Montgomery writes like an experienced novelist as she effectively creates a place, characters and narrative tension. She has written what I consider to be a truly excellent debut novel. The Widows are Lily and Marvena, each of whom has children, has lost a husband and is trying not to lose her way. Life in Bronwyn County, Ohio for them and those they love, following WWI is full of hardship. Coal is king and a harsh master. Poverty and company scrip rule many lives. In this world, Marvena and her common law husband John have worked to organize the miners. This is a freighted and difficult task given the strong arm tactics of the mine owners. Pinkertons are brought in to quell resistance. Other outsiders try to dominate illegal moonshine businesses. On the surface, Lily's life looks better. She is married to Sheriff Daniel Ross, a former boxer and half brother to the mine owner. However, early in the novel, Daniel is killed. The circumstances surrounding his death are a central mystery in the novel. Both Marvena and Lily have relationship history with Daniel. Each realizes that she did not fully know him. As they come to know one another, Lily and Marvena come to also know themselves. Peopled with many additional characters that come vividly to life, this novel is engaging, realistic and compelling. Put it on your TBR pile for January when it will be released. I recommend this one very highly. Many thanks to NetGalley, the author and St. Martin's Minotaur for this fantastic read!
The Widows by Jess Montgomery Kinship #1 Lapsang Souchong – not Jasmine Tea – One thought I had while reading this book. Now, my mother loved a smokey tea and...others no doubt love it too...not my favorite flavor but I do have to say this book grew on me as I continued to read. That thought happened at the beginning of the book and as I read I kept thinking that neither of the main characters were people I could really relate to and I wondered why. It wasn’t the era of the early 1900’s or the location in the Appalachian coal country or even the fact that the number of widows was huge within the area because...post war there would be widows. I think perhaps that Lily and Marvena took time to really know and didn’t seem the warmest women I have ever met in a book. As the story unfolded I saw a bit more of who they were and why they made the choices they did but even at the end of the story I didn’t feel I knew them well. Perhaps as this series continues the characters and their back stories and thoughts and reasoning will be exposed a bit at a time and I will come to know them better and warm to them, too. I did think about not finishing the book but in the end am glad I did finish it and can say that I am interested in finding out what happens in Kinship when book two comes out. This book deals with a great deal of loss and is filled with the darkness of a mining town with the oppression of miners in that period. There is more than one murder so a mystery to solve. There are evil men with agendas of their own. There is the slow unveiling of who Lily’s husband Daniel was besides being the Sheriff and her husband. This is the story of two women that may forge a friendship as the series continues and it is a story that though dark does have a bit of hope toward the end. Did I like the story? More at the end than in the beginning Would I read more in this series? Yes, to see where the author plans to go with the characters What did I like? That it made me think and wonder even though it was not an easy read Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur for the ARC – This is my honest review 3-4 Stars