Series: Kinship #2
Published by Minotaur Books on January 14, 2020
Source: the publisher
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Jess Montgomery showcases her skills as a storyteller in The Hollows: a powerful, big-hearted and exquisitely written follow-up to her highly acclaimed debut The Widows.
Ohio, 1926: For many years, the railroad track in Moonvale Tunnel has been used as a shortcut through the Appalachian hills. When an elderly woman is killed walking along the tracks, the brakeman tells tales of seeing a ghostly female figure dressed all in white.
Newly elected Sheriff Lily Ross is called on to the case to dispel the myths. With the help of her friends Marvena Whitcomb and Hildy Cooper, Lily follows the woman’s trail to The Hollows–a notorious asylum–and they begin to expose dark secrets long-hidden by time and the mountains.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I cannot describe how excited I as to read The Hollows after loving The Widows so much. I think I loved this one just a little bit more than the last one, but that’s because I already know these characters pretty well after reading the first book twice.
In the previous story, Lily was appointed to the sheriff position after her husband, then Sheriff Daniel Ross, was murdered. In this story, Lily is up for re-election. I love the way there is the tension of an upcoming election and the campaigning that goes on around the different candidates. Even more, I love that we get to see that Lily’s job doesn’t slow down or stop just because of politics, so the stresses of solving crimes and getting her re-election message out are at the forefront of Lily’s mind. Of course, this stress bleeds into the hard work of being a widowed mother. Lily relies a lot on her mother’s help, and the help of her friends Hildy and Marvena. I’ve really grown to love this community of strong women.
While the previous book centered mostly on coal-mining issues, this installment focuses heavily on racism and the judgment women had for one another during this time. While trying to solve the mystery of an unknown woman’s murder, Lily bumps up against the WKKK (why didn’t I know about the women’s KKK?) and discovers more about her county’s ties to the Underground Railroad. I felt more like I existed within the lives of these women while they navigated these hard things rather than just merely reading about them above the pages. The history of this area and time was really well-researched, and that’s been something that I have loved about both books in this series.
I can’t sing the praises of Lily and her friends and family enough. Lily is tough but tired, smart but sensitive, and fair but fiercely protective of the ones she loves. The women in this story have a strength and a determination that reads like it should for the early 1900’s (rather than feminism by today’s standards) when gender roles were a bit more “traditional” than they are today. This feels completely true to these characters, rather than something a contemporary author has forced, and I 100% here for that. I’m just such a fan of this series and I can’t wait for the next thing from Jess Montgomery.