Sunday, March 24, 2019

Review - The Widows

Title:   The Widows
Author:  Jess Montgomery
Series:   Kinship #1
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Publisher:   Minotaur Books
Format:  Print ARC
No. of Pages:  336
Date of Publication:  January 8, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

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 be—and 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.


It is 1924 Kinship, Ohio. Lily Ross finds a unique way to avenge her husband's death. Her husband, Daniel, was a widely-respected sheriff. In order to have a fair amount of autonomy into investigating his death, Lily becomes Ohio's first female sheriff. Just a few hours after Daniel's funeral, Marvena Whitcomb, widow of a coal minor, approaches Lily's door to ask for help to locate her missing daughter. 

Lily feels compelled to help Marvena. In so doing, both women sadly realize that Daniel was not the man that they thought he was. Furthermore, the murder was part of a much bigger scenario.  

Lily, a mother with two young children, had her start working at the local jail. As the jail mistress, she was a record-keeper and also assisted her husband. When Daniel was transporting a prisoner, he was killed. Upon meeting Marvena, Lily discovered that the other woman had some sort of connection to Daniel. That no doubt made things difficult when it came to the fact that they began working together, even after Lily was appointed temporary sheriff.

Both women were widows, and hopefully that would have been enough to keep them working toward similar goals. Meanwhile, where they resided was a mining town, and there were difficulties in that situation. Sadly, their husbands were not the only lives lost at that time.

This debut novel was very well written. The descriptive style in which this historical fiction was written kept me turning pages deep into the night. The Widows is the first in a new series and I look forward to continuing with the next story. Also, there is a very good author's note at the end of the book that lends credence to the details of this story. 

Many thanks to Minotaur Books for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


JESS MONTGOMERY is the author of the Kinship Historical Mystery series, focusing on a 1920s female sheriff in Appalachia. You can find out more about her books at her website,, or reach her on Facebook @JessMontgomeryAuthor, Twitter @JessM_Author and Instagram @JessMontgomeryAuthor.

Under Jess's given name, she is a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News. Her first novel in the Kinship Historical Mystery series, THE WIDOWS, garnered awards even before publication: Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District (MCAD) Artist Opportunity Grant (2018); Individual Excellence Award (2016) in Literary Arts from Ohio Arts Council; John E. Nance Writer in Residence at Thurber House (Columbus, Ohio) in 2014.

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