Book Review: The Widows by Jess Montgomery

Posted January 26, 2020 by Asheley in review / 0 Comments

The Widows by Jess Montgomery
Book Review: The Widows by Jess MontgomeryThe Widows by Jess Montgomery
Series: Kinship #1
Published by Minotaur Books on January 8, 2019
Source: the publisher
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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.

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 just reread this is one sitting! I love historical mysteries, particularly when they feature strong women.

The Widows is set in a small coal-mining town in Ohio in the early 1900’s. Lily Ross’ husband Daniel, the sheriff, has been killed and Lily is named acting sheriff until the next election. She is fiercely determined to solve the mystery of her husband’s murder. Her path crosses with Marvena Whitcomb, wife of a deceased coal-miner, when Marvena asks for help in finding her missing daughter. Lily finds out that her husband has a connection to Marvena’s family, which makes the relationship between these two women understandably cautious and awkward. Lily had no idea that they both knew Daniel until a few hours after the funeral. Over the course of the story, their relationship grows into one of trust and then into a friendship as they work together to find safety and justice for their community.

The Widows by Jess Montgomery
I really loved this. When I started reading the first time, I didn’t realize this had such a big mystery component. When I read it the second time, I grew to be even more fond of Lily and Marvena as their individual POV’s are told, and I was encouraged by their strength as they continued to work so hard while grieving such incredible losses. One of my favorite parts of this story is how the daughters of these two women grow so close and form a fast, immediate friendship–this really fosters the healing of these two women in their grief and it helps them to trust one another more completely. And I also loved the wisdom and respect of the elder women in the community.

Just a good one all around. I was fortunate enough to be gifted finished copies of the first two books in this series by the publisher (for review), and I immediately started the second book when I finished this one.


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About Jess Montgomery

Jess Montgomery Author Photo

Jess Montgomery is the author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries. Under her 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.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


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